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San Francisco Had an Ambitious Plan to Tackle School Segregation. It Made It Worse. - The New York Times
"Since the district uses neighborhood test scores to determine admissions preferences, some students from low-income and working-class families in San Francisco, like Cinthya, do not get an advantage, while a handful of wealthier students, whose parents happen to live in areas with historically lower test scores, do.

The system benefits gentrifiers, in a city where public housing can be tucked beneath hills studded with multimillion-dollar Victorians.

Anne Zimmerman, a stay-at-home parent and writer, had what others call, sometimes derisively, the “golden ticket.” She and her husband, who works in advertising, moved into their two-bedroom rental in the Potrero Hill neighborhood a decade ago, without realizing their address granted them priority in the school lottery.

This year, their daughter, Vera, was offered admission to their first-choice kindergarten, one of the most requested in the city. The school is 37 percent white and 21 percent low-income. Districtwide, 15 percent of students are white and 55 percent are low-income.

“I feel so very conflicted” about getting an advantage, Ms. Zimmerman said. Both she and her husband are white. “The system was developed to equalize the playing field, and I don’t think it really has done it.”

Those who defend the current system point out that 79 percent of black parents, 79 percent of Filipino parents and 61 percent of Hispanic parents received their first-choice kindergarten for next fall, compared with 48 percent of white parents.

Rionda Batiste is a member of the district’s African-American Parent Advisory Council and a resident of the Bayview, a neighborhood with test-score priority in the lottery. She has been thrilled with the system, which allowed her to enroll two of her children in a school of her choice outside the neighborhood.

“Until our schools are being made to have the same resources and quality as the other schools in the other areas, I’m not going to disadvantage her,” Ms. Batiste said of her daughter, Victoria.

But the voices of parents who feel hurt by the lottery hold powerful political sway here. One family of two doctors whose child — like 12 percent of kindergarten applicants — was not admitted to any of the 15 schools they listed, said they would not send their child to the school they were ultimately assigned, which is across the city from their home. The school has struggled with underenrollment and low test scores, and is predominantly black and low-income.

The parents, who are Hispanic and asked not to be named, ended up putting down a deposit for a private school.

About a quarter of the city’s children are enrolled in private school, a higher percentage than in some other major cities, like New York, where it is around 20 percent. The lottery system is thought to be a major reason wealthy parents here opt out of public schools, further worsening segregation.

At the request of the Board of Education, the district is considering how expanded busing could help integrate schools. It is also looking at models in Berkeley, Calif., and Boston, where parents can rank choices from a small group of schools determined by address. San Francisco has already limited choices at the middle-school level, with some success."
sanfrancisco  policy  schools  publicschools  segregation  integration  2019  inequality  race  gentrification 
4 weeks ago by robertogreco
Gifted and Talented Programs Separate Students by Race - The Atlantic
"The public focuses its attention on divides between schools, while tracking has created separate and unequal education systems within single schools."



"The segregation of America’s public schools is a perpetual newsmaker. The fact that not even 1 percent of the incoming freshman class identifies as black at New York City’s elite Stuyvesant High School made national headlines last month. And New York isn’t unusual. The minority gap in enrollment at elite academic public schools is a problem across America.

But more troubling, and often less discussed, is the modern-day form of segregation that occurs within the same school through academic tracking, which selects certain students for gifted and talented education (GATE) programs. These programs are tasked with challenging presumably smart students with acceleration and extra enrichment activities. Other students are kept in grade-level classes, or tracked into remedial courses that are tasked with catching students up to academic baselines.

Black students make up nearly 17 percent of the total student population nationwide. Yet less than 10 percent of students in GATE are black. A shocking 53 percent of remedial students are black. This disparity across tracks is what social scientists commonly call “racialized tracking”—in which students of color get sorted out of educational opportunities and long-term socioeconomic success.

The level of disparity varies across the nation. A Department of Education Office for Civil Rights report from 2014 called attention to a Sacramento, California, district where black students accounted for 16.3 percent of the district’s enrollment but only 5.5 percent of students in GATE programs. At the other end of the state, in San Diego, 8 percent of students are black, but just 3 percent of GATE students are.

In the South Orange–Maplewood School District in New Jersey, the American Civil Liberties Union stated in a 2014 complaint that racial segregation across academic tracks “has created a school within a school at Columbia High School,” where more than 70 percent of the students in lower-level classes were black and more than 70 percent of the students in advanced classes were white. Though the Office for Civil Rights ordered the district to hire a consultant to fix this, segregation remains an ongoing challenge.

The idea that tracking can create a “school within a school” became a physical reality in one Austin, Texas, school. In 2007, the district moved to split part of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Early College High School into a separate Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA), a public magnet high school now ranked the best Texas high school and the 11th-best high school in the United States. The magnet students, who are mostly white and Asian, take classes on the second floor, and the LBJ students, who are majority black and Latino, take classes on the floor below. Yasmiyn Irizarry, a professor of African studies at the University of Texas at Austin whose child attends LASA, wrote that this design was “reminiscent of apartheid.”

The implication is clear: Black students are regularly excluded from schools’ conceptions of what it means to be gifted, talented, or advanced. There are real, systemic factors that fuel the disparity in access to gifted and specialized education. A history of racist policies, such as housing segregation and unequal funding, means that schools with a high proportion of black students often have resource constraints for specialized programs. Teachers’ biases against black students limit their chances for selective advanced opportunities. Admissions into gifted programs and specialized schools are based on a singular standardized test that often ignores qualifications aligned with a student’s training and does not capture black students’ potential. Minority students, particularly black students, are also often over-policed, which can affect their educational opportunities.

But part of the problem also comes from the fact that all parents want the best for their children, and some parents actually have the power to make it so. In an extreme, high-profile example, recently dozens of wealthy parents were caught bribing their children’s way into elite colleges and universities. But even moderately privileged parents have knowledge that benefits their children—they can teach their kids how to negotiate educational opportunities for themselves—asking for an extension on an assignment or talking their way out of punishment for misbehaving, for example.

More important, privileged parents contribute to these racial disparities in advanced education, intentionally or not, when they hoard educational opportunities for their already privileged children.

Privileged parents have the power, autonomy, time, and resources to, for instance, attend school-district meetings to make sure their neighborhood schools aren’t closed or rezoned. They also know how to appeal to principals, making a case for why their child must be placed in their preferred teacher’s classroom. They have the money to hire tutors so their children can stay on top of their classwork and score well on standardized tests. Some even do school-related work on their children’s behalf. These parents do these things for the good of their children, even though they are not good for other people’s children.

Yet privileged parents often feel guilty when they are unable to reconcile being a good parent with being a good socially conscious citizen. The sociologist Margaret Hagerman calls this the “conundrum of privilege.” Despite knowing that doing the best for their children often means leaving other children, often low-income students or students of color, with fewer opportunities, the knowledge doesn’t change their behavior. As Tressie McMillan Cottom writes in her powerful new book, Thick, “They are good people. They want all children in their child’s school to thrive, but they want their child to thrive just a bit more than most.” When it comes to GATE programs and advanced classes where space is limited, privileged parents hoard the opportunity for their own children, especially in racially integrated schools.

Putting the numbers in context with the sociological explanations reveals that black children aren’t included in schools’ conception of gifted and advanced precisely because they are not conceived of as “our” children who deserve the best resources and attention.

As a black parent who now carries socioeconomic privilege, given my husband’s and my own educational status, I, like other black middle-class mothers, find myself in a unique position: a conundrum of constrained privilege. I want to advocate for my black sons, because I only want the best for them. I also know that advocating for my sons to get into GATE or elite academies could move the needle just a bit to increase black representation. But doing this would mean accepting that my already privileged children would receive additional benefits that other black children might need even more.

Instead of having my son take the GATE entrance exam, I decided to use my social capital to advocate for more holistic changes in our district. I spend about six hours a month either volunteering in a second-grade classroom, or discussing school-assessment measures and budgets with teachers and school administration as a member of the School Site Council, or convening with district personnel about citywide initiatives in my position on the District Accountability Committee. My job status allows me the privilege and flexibility to spend my time doing this extra work. But my racial status means this is a necessity. In every single one of these spaces, I am the only black adult. If I am not there advocating for my son and other black students, the data suggest, no one else will.

The education gap cannot be achieved without closing the racial empathy gap. While my individual actions and choices are important, their impact is limited. Until we can develop better admissions tests, or pass legislation banning these tests altogether, or invest more resources in public schools to incorporate GATE-like curricula in all classes, those of us who are willing and able to do “whatever we can” for our children need to expand our idea of who “our” children really are."
race  racism  segregation  schools  education  publicschools  2019  whitneypirtle  gate  gifted  giftedandtalented  discrimination  testing  bias  behavior  discipline  privilege  whitesupremacy 
4 weeks ago by robertogreco
White parents are enabling school segregation — if it doesn't hurt their own kids
"America has largely given up trying to desegregate its schools. Politicians have capitulated to reactionary white parents and activists who have successfully fought for decades against the government's hesitant efforts to provide equal resources and opportunities for students of color. The result has been a disaster for non-white students, for public education and for the U.S. as a whole.

In the 1950s and 1960s, educational segregation, along with voting rights, was the iconic issue of the civil rights movement. Today, criminal justice and mass incarceration have largely overtaken school segregation in high-profile discussions about racism.

Obviously, not everyone has moved on: Black Lives Matter has managed to raise public awareness of systemic racism and local activists have continued to fight against segregation. For example, black Chicago students have repeatedly protested the way the city robs them of resources and closes schools in their neighborhoods. But focused, national attention, much less change, has proved elusive.

The fact that we've moved on from discussions of segregation could be seen as a victory of sorts. Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 made it unconstitutional to pass laws mandating separate education for black students and white students. Brown is broadly celebrated; everyone agrees that legal segregation was wrong. And thus, the civil rights movement won.

But did it? The truth is that segregation today is, in many cases, worse now than when the Brown v. Board of Education case was decided.

A 2017 analysis by the UCLA Civil Rights Project found that 75 percent of black students attend majority minority schools, while 38 percent go to schools that are less than 10 percent white. The numbers are even more striking for Latinx students, 80 percent of whom attend majority minority schools. Latinx and black students are also much more likely to be in school districts with high poverty rates, and to have less access to high-quality course offerings. A 2012 study found that more than half of public schools with low black and Latinx populations offered calculus, as compared to a third with high Latinx and black enrollment.

This segregation of students of color isn't an accident. For more than 50 years, white parents and white activists have fought against integrating schools, as Noliwe Rooks chronicles in her 2017 book “Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the Rise of Public Education.”

Following Brown, many Southern school systems shut down public education for up to five years rather than integrate, Rooks writes. She also notes that public money was used to support all-white private schools all the way up to 1978. In the north, meanwhile, racist activism led to anti-busing provisions, blocking federal funds from being used to transport students for the purposes of desegregation. Local busing efforts were opposed with violence: Around 200 white people attacked school buses with black children in South Carolina, and the Ku Klux Klan bombed empty school buses in Michigan in 1971.

Desegregation can still prompt angry, violent, white backlash. Today, Rooks reports, affluent white districts will sue and prosecute poor people of color who try to access the resources in better districts. In 2014, for example, Tanya McDowell, who was homeless, was sentenced to multiple years in prison for using the address of her babysitter to send her kindergartner to school in the affluent district of Norwalk, Connecticut.

When I wrote an article earlier this year arguing that white parents need to do more to promote desegregation, my social media mentions filled up with outraged protests, many of them openly anti-Semitic. Rod Dreher at the American Conservative said that by pointing out that white parents are complicit in segregation, I had contributed to the "demonization of “whiteness.” He also suggested that if my son went to a majority minority school he would likely be bullied by black students. Dreher's concerns were echoed on the Nazi podcast “The Daily Shoah,” which also argued that when I advocate for desegregation, I am actually working to destroy white parents and white children.

The virulence of this reaction feels out of proportion. But that's only because white resistance over the last few decades has been so successful that there is little pressure now to desegregate schools. Instead, policy makers argue for "school choice." Poor students of color, the argument goes, can use vouchers from the state to attend private school, or can take courses online, or can enter a lottery to attend charter schools. Advocates like T. Willard Fair believe that many studies "point to increased success for students of color because their families were empowered to find schools that better met the needs of their children."

Data on charter schools is far from clear that they actually raise test scores, however critics are concerned that some schools may simply force out students who do poorly, raising school test averages. And in any case, the many students left behind in the public system face the same problems their predecessors did. U.S. public schools are funded by local property taxes, which means that wealthier neighborhoods have highly trained teachers with up-to-date technology and poor neighborhoods have out-of-date textbooks and crumbling buildings. High-poverty districts spend 15.6 percent less per student than low-poverty districts. Critics argue that vouchers make the situation worse by draining funds from already strapped school systems. Separate remains unequal in districts across the country.

Since most politicians no longer even pretend to tackle desegregation, white people don't need to make a violent fuss to protect the system. "There's still a lot of pushback [against desegregation], but the pushback isn't people out in the streets organizing against busing," says Amanda Lewis, author of “Race in the Schoolyard.”

"Instead we talk about opportunity hoarding. Instead of trying to block other people, I'm trying to make sure my kid gets the best. And in doing that, a lot of people participating in that kind of behavior, you produce unequal outcomes," Lewis said.

Affluent white parents can pay for test prep to get their kids into better charter schools. They can move to the suburbs to get into wealthier districts. They can advocate to get their kids into honors classes. You don't have to stand at the schoolyard door or attack buses anymore. You can just quietly use your money and education to leverage structural inequality in your favor.

This inequality gives affluent white children real advantages. But it also stunts them. My son currently goes to a majority minority public high school in Chicago. Contrary to Rod Dreher's racist fantasies, being at a school where most people aren't white hasn't put him in danger. Instead, he's had opportunities I never had in my all-white high school in northeastern Pennsylvania. He can practice his Spanish by speaking with bilingual classmates. He works with extremely talented young black and Latinx Shakespearean actors. He knows people who don't look like him. That's valuable.

White Americans have largely stopped seeing anti-racism as a major goal of educational policy. Instead, they have chosen to focus on maximizing their own choices and the success of their own children. It's natural for people to want their kids to do well. But how well are you really doing when you are collaborating in a society built on injustice and inequality? Despite the best efforts of activists and scholars, the dream of desegregation in America is dying. Our children are worse off as a result."
race  racism  schools  segregation  resegregation  inequality  education  whiteness  2019  noahberlatsky  history  desegregation  publicschools  privateschools  activism 
10 weeks ago by robertogreco
White progressive parents and the conundrum of privilege - Los Angeles Times
"Greg and Sarah live in a predominantly white neighborhood and send their children to a predominantly white private school. “I don’t want to believe we are hypocrites,” Greg tells me. “But if we say diversity is important to us, but then we didn’t stick around in the place that was diverse, maybe we are?” He looks at Sarah. “I dunno,” he continues, “I guess we made decisions based on other things that were more important. But what does that say about us then?”

For two years I conducted research with 30 affluent white parents and their kids in a Midwestern metropolitan area. Over and over I heard comments like Greg’s reflecting a deep ambivalence: As progressive parents, is their primary responsibility to advance societal values ­— fairness, equal opportunity and social justice — or to give their children all the advantages in life that their resources can provide?

More often than not, values lost out.

Parents I interviewed felt conflicted about using their social status to advocate for their kids to have the “best” math teacher, because they knew other kids would be stuck with the “bad” math teacher. They registered the unfairness in leveraging their exclusive social networks to get their teenagers coveted summer internships when they knew disadvantaged kids were the ones who truly needed such opportunities. They felt guilty when they protectively removed their children from explicitly racist and contentious situations because they understood that kids of color cannot escape racism whenever they please. Still, those were the choices they made.

Parents felt caught in a conundrum of privilege — that there was an unavoidable conflict between being a good parent and being a good citizen. These two principles don’t have to be in tension, of course. Many parents, in fact, expressed a desire to have their ideals and parenting choices align. In spite of that sentiment, when it came to their own children, the common refrain I heard was, “I care about social justice, but — I don’t want my kid to be a guinea pig.”

In other words, things have been working out pretty well for affluent white kids, so why rock the boat? And so parents continue to make decisions — about where to buy a house, which school seems best, or whether robotics club or piano lessons is a better after-school activity — that extend the advantages of wealth. Those choices, however, have other consequences: They shape what children think about race, racism, inequality and privilege far more than anything parents say (or do not say).

Children reach their own conclusions about how society works, or should work, based on their observations of their social environment and interactions with others — a process that African American studies scholar Erin Winkler calls “comprehensive racial learning.” So how their parents set up kids’ lives matters deeply.

Some children in my study, for instance, came to the conclusion that “racism is over” and that “talking about race makes you racist” — the kind of sentiments that sociologists identify as key features of colorblind racism. These were kids who were growing up in an almost exclusively white, suburban social environment outside the city.

The kids who lived in the city but attended predominantly white private schools told me that they were smarter and better than their public schools peers. They also thought they were more likely to be leaders in the future. One boy said proudly, “My school is not for everyone” — a statement that reflected how thoroughly he’d absorbed his position in the world in relation to others.

And yet, other white kids living in the city concluded that racism “is a way bigger problem than people realize. … White people don’t realize it… because they are scared to talk about it.” These young people spoke passionately about topics like the racial wealth gap and discrimination. They observed how authority figures such as teachers and police officers treated kids of color differently. They more easily formed interracial friendships and on occasion worked with their peers to challenge racism in their community. These were children who were put in racially integrated schools and extracurricular activities purposefully by their parents.

Still, even some of those parents’ actions reproduced the very forms of inequality they told me they intellectually rejected. They used connections to get their children into selective summer enrichment programs or threatened to leave the public school system if their children were not placed in honors or AP courses that they knew contributed to patterns of segregation. So even as parents promoted to their kids the importance of valuing equality, they modeled how to use privilege to get what you want. White kids absorbed this too; they expected to be able to move easily through the world and developed strategies for making it so.

If affluent, white parents hope to raise children who reject racial inequality, simply explaining that fairness and social justice are important values won’t do the trick. Instead, parents need to confront how their own decisions and behaviors reproduce patterns of privilege. They must actually advocate for the well-being, education and happiness of all children, not just their own.

Being a good parent should not come at the expense of being — or raising — a good citizen. If progressive white parents are truly committed to the values they profess, they ought to consider how helping one’s own child get ahead in society may not be as big a gift as helping create a more just society for them to live in in the future."
education  parenting  politics  progressive  2018  margarethagerman  schools  schooling  socialjustice  race  racism  privilege  cv  affluence  inequality  privateschools  segregation  civics  society  canon 
10 weeks ago by robertogreco
Opinion | What King Said About Northern Liberalism - The New York Times
"“There is a pressing need for a liberalism in the North which is truly liberal,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told an interracial audience in New York City in 1960. He called for a liberalism that “rises up with righteous indignation when a Negro is lynched in Mississippi, but will be equally incensed when a Negro is denied the right to live in his neighborhood.”

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it’s tempting to focus on the glaring human rights abuses, racist fear-mongering and malfeasance happening at the federal level. But taking seriously Dr. King’s critique of Northern liberalism means also calling out liberal public officials and residents who profess commitments to equality yet maintain a corrupt criminal justice system and a segregated school system. It means calling out Northern newspapers, along with Southern ones, to atone for their skewed civil rights coverage. And it means reckoning with the dangers of “polite” racism, as Dr. King warned, which still rings true today.

Dr. King visited New York City throughout the 1960s and called attention to its racial problems. In Harlem in 1963, he spoke to an audience of some 15,000 white people as City College’s commencement speaker. Fewer than 2 percent of the graduates that day were black, giving visual proof to his admonition that the “de facto segregation of the North was as injurious as the legal segregation of the South.”

The next year, in a TV interview after the Harlem uprising, Dr. King called for “an honest, soul-searching analysis and evaluation of the environmental causes which have spawned the riots,” which started after the police killed 15-year-old Jimmy Powell. Dr. King was nearly run out of town when he dared to suggest that New York would benefit from a Civilian Complaint Review Board to oversee the Police Department.

In 1964, Dr. King refused to condemn the Brooklyn chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality’s plan to create a major disruption by stalling cars on highways that led to the World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows. After all, the goal was to draw attention to rampant inequality in the city, which had long been unaddressed. “If our direct action programs alienate so-called friends,” he wrote to in a letter to civil rights leaders, “they never were really our friends.”

Indeed, mainstream newspapers lauded his work in the South but took issue when he brought the same tactics north. In 1967, Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference announced the need for mass disruption in Northern cities to draw attention to longstanding inequalities. The New York Times criticized the idea as “certain to aggravate the angry division of whites and Negroes into warring camps,” part of the paper’s long history of deploring direct action on home turf.

Three years earlier, when 460,000 New York City students stayed out of school to demand a comprehensive school desegregation plan — making it the largest civil rights demonstration of the decade — The Times called the daylong boycott “unreasonable,” “unjustified” and “violent.”

After the Watts uprising, Dr. King focused on the racial dishonesty of the North which “showered praise on the heroism of Southern Negroes.” But concerning local conditions, “only the language was polite; the rejection was firm and unequivocal.” The uneven attention was clear, he noted: “As the nation, Negro and white, trembled with outrage at police brutality in the South, police misconduct in the North was rationalized, tolerated and usually denied.”

Dr. King also highlighted white people’s illegal behavior that helped produced Northern ghettos: The white man “flagrantly violates building codes and regulations, his police make a mockery of law, and he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civic services,” he said in an address to the American Psychological Association in 1967.

In his 1967 book “Where Do We Go From Here,” Dr. King noted the limits of Northern liberalism: “Negroes have proceeded from a premise that equality means what it says.” “But most whites in America, including many of good will,” he wrote “proceed from a premise that equality is a loose expression for improvement. White America is not even psychologically organized to close the gap.”

That still holds true. In 2014, the Civil Rights Project at U.C.L.A. found that New York State’s schools were the most segregated in the nation. Low-income students of color languish in underfunded schools while wealthier students attend better-resourced ones. And white parents are still tremendously resistant to school rezoning, just as they were 50 years ago.

And discriminatory policing persists. Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Mission Accomplished” narrative, police officers continue to use stop-and-frisk in a way that’s racially disparate. Now, many of the stops simply go unreported. The Police Department, despite court decisions, continues to disparately monitor Muslim communities, and it has reportedly surveilled Black Lives Matter activists.

At the same time, many people have condemned the disruptive tactics of Black Lives Matter activists, claiming they should be more like Dr. King.

In April 1963, Dr. King sat alone in the Birmingham jail. He knew the rabid side of white supremacy very intimately. And yet he wrote that “the white moderate, who is more devoted to order than to justice,” was more of an impediment than “the White Citizens Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner.”

For too long, order has been more important than justice. We can honor Dr. King’s legacy by taking uncomfortable, disruptive, far-reaching action to remedy the problems to which he devoted his life."
martinlutherkingjr  jeannetheoharis  2019  liberalism  race  racism  blacklivesmatter  socialjustice  civilrights  history  nyc  segregation  schools  education  equality  inequality  mlk 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Inequality - how wealth becomes power (1/2) | (Poverty Richness Documentary) DW Documentary - YouTube
"Germany is one of the world’s richest countries, but inequality is on the rise. The wealthy are pulling ahead, while the poor are falling behind.

For the middle classes, work is no longer a means of advancement. Instead, they are struggling to maintain their position and status. Young people today have less disposable income than previous generations. This documentary explores the question of inequality in Germany, providing both background analysis and statistics. The filmmakers interview leading researchers and experts on the topic. And they accompany Christoph Gröner, one of Germany’s biggest real estate developers, as he goes about his work. "If you have great wealth, you can’t fritter it away through consumption. If you throw money out the window, it comes back in through the front door,” Gröner says. The real estate developer builds multi-family residential units in cities across Germany, sells condominium apartments, and is involved in planning projects that span entire districts. "Entrepreneurs are more powerful than politicians, because we’re more independent,” Gröner concludes. Leading researchers and experts on the topic of inequality also weigh in, including Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, economist Thomas Piketty, and Brooke Harrington, who carried out extensive field research among investors from the ranks of the international financial elite. Branko Milanović, a former lead economist at the World Bank, says that globalization is playing a role in rising inequality. The losers of globalization are the lower-middle class of affluent countries like Germany. "These people are earning the same today as 20 years ago," Milanović notes. "Just like a century ago, humankind is standing at a crossroads. Will affluent countries allow rising equality to tear apart the fabric of society? Or will they resist this trend?”"

[Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYP_wMJsgyg

"Christoph Gröner is one of the richest people in Germany. The son of two teachers, he has worked his way to the top. He believes that many children in Germany grow up without a fair chance and wants to step in. But can this really ease inequality?

Christoph Gröner does everything he can to drum up donations and convince the wealthy auction guests to raise their bids. The more the luxury watch for sale fetches, the more money there will be to pay for a new football field, or some extra tutoring, at a children's home. Christoph Gröner is one of the richest people in Germany - his company is now worth one billion euros, he tells us. For seven months, he let our cameras follow him - into board meetings, onto construction sites, through his daily life, and in his charity work. He knows that someone like him is an absolute exception in Germany. His parents were both teachers, and he still worked his way to the top. He believes that many children in Germany grow up without a fair chance. "What we see here is total failure across the board,” he says. "It starts with parents who just don’t get it and can’t do anything right. And then there’s an education policy that has opened the gates wide to the chaos we are experiencing today." Chistoph Gröner wants to step in where state institutions have failed. But can that really ease inequality?

In Germany, getting ahead depends more on where you come from than in most other industrialized countries, and social mobility is normally quite restricted. Those on top stay on top. The same goes for those at the bottom. A new study shows that Germany’s rich and poor both increasingly stay amongst themselves, without ever intermingling with other social strata. Even the middle class is buckling under the mounting pressure of an unsecure future. "Land of Inequality" searches for answers as to why. We talk to families, an underpaid nurse, as well as leading researchers and analysts such as economic Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz, sociologist Jutta Allmendinger or the economist Raj Chetty, who conducted a Stanford investigation into how the middle class is now arming itself to improve their children’s outlooks."]
documentary  germany  capitalism  economics  society  poverty  inequality  christophgröner  thomaspiketty  brookehrrington  josephstiglitz  neoliberalism  latecapitalism  brankomilanović  worldbank  power  influence  policy  politics  education  class  globalization  affluence  schools  schooling  juttaallmendinger  rajchetty  middleclass  parenting  children  access  funding  charity  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  status  work  labor  welfare  2018  geography  cities  urban  urbanism  berlin  immigration  migration  race  racism  essen  socialsegregation  segregation  success  democracy  housing  speculation  paulpiff  achievement  oligarchy  dynasticwealth  ownership  capitalhoarding  injustice  inheritance  charlottebartels  history  myth  prosperity  wageslavery  polarization  insecurity  precarity  socialcontract  revolution  sociology  finance  financialcapitalism  wealthmanagement  assets  financialization  local  markets  privateschools  publicschools  privatization 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Together: The Rituals Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation with Richard Sennett - YouTube
"New York University sociologist and historian Richard Sennett addresses the phenomenon of why people tend to avoid engaging with others who are different, leading to a modern politics of the tribe rather than the city. In this thought-provoking talk, Sennett offers ideas on what might be done to encourage people to live with others who are racially, ethnically, religiously or economically unlike themselves. [3/2012] [Public Affairs] [Show ID: 23304]"
tichardsennett  togetherness  community  2012  empathy  sympathy  design  ethnography  sociology  diversity  difference  curiosity  segregation  self-segregation  openness  openminded  jeromebruner  cognition  xenophobia  xenophilia  tribes  politics 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Carol Black: Alternatives to Schooling on Vimeo
"Carol Black is an education analyst, television producer, and director of the film Schooling the World. This is her plenary talk at the Economics of Happiness conference, held in Portland, Oregon, in February 2015. The conference was organized by Local Futures, a non-profit organization that has been promoting a shift from global to local for nearly 40 years."
carolblack  unschooling  deschooling  education  learning  howelearn  schools  schooling  happiness  alternative  work  play  experimentation  development  children  age  segregation  experience  experientialeducation  readiness  compulsion  control  authoritarianism  authority  power  standardization  centralization  publicschools  corporations  corporatism  compulsory  agesegregaton  sfsh  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  conviviality  ivanillich  community  howwelearn  2015  institutions  institutionalizations  diversity 
october 2018 by robertogreco
White Kids | Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America | Books - NYU Press | NYU Press
"Riveting stories of how affluent, white children learn about race

American kids are living in a world of ongoing public debates about race, daily displays of racial injustice, and for some, an increased awareness surrounding diversity and inclusion. In this heated context, sociologist Margaret A. Hagerman zeroes in on affluent, white kids to observe how they make sense of privilege, unequal educational opportunities, and police violence. In fascinating detail, Hagerman considers the role that they and their families play in the reproduction of racism and racial inequality in America.

White Kids, based on two years of research involving in-depth interviews with white kids and their families, is a clear-eyed and sometimes shocking account of how white kids learn about race. In doing so, this book explores questions such as, “How do white kids learn about race when they grow up in families that do not talk openly about race or acknowledge its impact?” and “What about children growing up in families with parents who consider themselves to be ‘anti-racist’?”

Featuring the actual voices of young, affluent white kids and what they think about race, racism, inequality, and privilege, White Kids illuminates how white racial socialization is much more dynamic, complex, and varied than previously recognized. It is a process that stretches beyond white parents’ explicit conversations with their white children and includes not only the choices parents make about neighborhoods, schools, peer groups, extracurricular activities, and media, but also the choices made by the kids themselves. By interviewing kids who are growing up in different racial contexts—from racially segregated to meaningfully integrated and from politically progressive to conservative—this important book documents key differences in the outcomes of white racial socialization across families. And by observing families in their everyday lives, this book explores the extent to which white families, even those with anti-racist intentions, reproduce and reinforce the forms of inequality they say they reject."
race  racism  society  education  privilege  class  parenting  books  toread  via:tealtan  2018  opportunity  margarethagerman  sociology  affluence  police  policeviolence  inequality  socialization  segregation  bias  via:lukeneff 
august 2018 by robertogreco
For Housing Affordability, California Must Amend its Constitution - Opinion | Political News | thebaycitybeacon.com
"This fall, California voters may have the opportunity to amend Proposition 13, one of the most regressive tax laws in the country. The 1978 initiative essentially freezes the assessed value of real estate at the time of sale—inevitably establishing and perpetuating wild inequities between the young and old, renters and landlords, immigrants and incumbents. How can California’s political “third rail” be reformed, albeit incrementally, with lasting, sustainable progress? There are several ways.

Evolve California is currently gathering signatures to place a measure on the 2018 ballot to allow re-assessments of commercial aka business properties—a move that could generate ~$10 billion a year for health care, education and other badly need investments in California society.

Another significant contributor to inequality, segregation, and the housing crisis stands unchallenged in 2018.

Article 34 of the California Constitution, enacted by voters in 1950, states that no cities, towns or counties may ”develop, construct or acquire” any “low-rent” housing “unless approved by a majority of qualified electors of the city, town or county” at the ballot box. Practically, this means our local governments and representatives are prevented from directly providing the homes struggling Californians need so direly today.

Article 34’s proponents intended to control the development of large, federally-funded public housing tower projects. The law also restricts local governments from efficiently building even mid-rise public housing or subsidizing low-income housing. A mid-century, single-story city building, or even a vacant lot, could become a five-story building with affordable rents and public services on the ground floor. Alas, we can’t really have that without an expensive ballot referendum and subsequent approval by a majority (or supermajority) of voters.

Moreover, the referendum process makes the provision of publicly-owned housing intractably slow. In California, prudent politicians tend refrain from placing affordable housing bonds on the ballot until they absolutely know the measure can win a supermajority of voters. When municipal coffers fill up with tax revenue or development fees, cities cannot use it to invest in modern mid-rise public housing directly, absent an expensive and risky Article 34-triggered election.

The crux of the issue is this: California’s landowners have become vastly more wealthy and powerful, by government fiat, at the expense of renters. This inequality is unsustainable. Homeowners receive exponentially more in public subsidies, and Proposition 13 tax rates disproportionately reward greater wealth and “incumbency” of property owners, but renters ultimately foot their landlords’ property tax bill. Not only do renters get little to no relief from this regressive system—because of Article 34, they are essentially forced to beg localized pockets of voters for the direct public provision of badly-needed affordable housing. Property owners, on the other hand, do not have to ask for their Mortgage Interest Deduction through a popular referendum every time they claim it.

Say it with me: public housing already exists. It exists largely not as shelter for the neediest, but as vestiges of historic inequality that abstractly, disproportionately rewards legacy homebuyers with secure asset wealth.

There have been concerted efforts to overturn this unfair system for almost as long as we’ve had it. Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown led two unsuccessful efforts to repeal Article 34 in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The most recent effort, in 1992, was defeated before an entire generation of eligible voters was born, so the current electorate may feel differently about our status quo.

Perhaps its time has finally come.

Since 1950, California courts have whittled down Article 34’s power, and some cities work around the law by delegating the job of affordable housing construction to privately-run nonprofits. But given the severity and depth of our affordable housing shortage, California cannot afford more roadblocks to directly providing publicly-owned affordable housing.

To state the obvious, Article 34 also maintains racial and economic segregation. Requiring voter approval for the development of publicly-funded affordable rental housing means that racially and economically homogenous communities can effectively veto integration. The electorates of San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley have consistently voted to approve low-income housing placed on the ballot at regular intervals. Compare the generosity of those voters to, say, communities in Marin County or Palo Alto—I can guarantee that the results will not surprise you.

Governing by popular referendum may sound ideal, but California’s experience with direct governance over the last 107 years has demonstrated that local pluralities of voters can sometimes succumb to fear, uncertainty, and outright animus towards marginalized groups.

If you think this is all ancient history, think again: in 1994, nearly 59% of California voters approved of Proposition 187, designed to bar undocumented people from accessing public services like health care and education, prior to it being ruled unconstitutional by the courts. More recently, California voters repudiated marriage equality by approving Proposition 8 in 2008, only for it also to be overturned by jurists. In 2016, California voters brought back the death penalty.

Occasionally, the state’s voters have been unwise enough to approve unconstitutional legislation, and federal courts have found such laws especially offensive when they discriminate against political minorities in the exercise of civil rights or use of public programs, as was the case with Prop 187. Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court found no such violation by Article 34 of equal protection under the 14th Amendment in James v. Valtierra (1971).

Renters from Santa Clara and San Mateo counties sought to have Article 34 invalidated on the basis of racial and wealth discrimination. Instead, Justice Hugo Black, writing for the 6-3 majority found such mandatory referendums on low-rent and public housing to indicate a “devotion to democracy, not to bias, discrimination, or prejudice.” (If only!)

Article 34 of the California Constitution, much like the general political aversion to subsidized housing, is explicitly rooted in prejudice against poor people, people of color, and immigrants writ large. The history is stark and ugly, and it is high time for California to face it head-on. That history, as it unfolded in Oakland, will be the subject of Part 2 in this series."
housing  california  policy  racism  class  2018  1950  article34  inequality  segregation  race  proposition13  sanfrancisco  oakland  bayarea  publichousing  affordability  taxes  williebrown  berkeley 
june 2018 by robertogreco
[Easy Chair] | Abolish High School, by Rebecca Solnit | Harper's Magazine
"I didn’t go to high school. This I think of as one of my proudest accomplishments and one of my greatest escapes, because everyone who grows up in the United States goes to high school. It’s such an inevitable experience that people often mishear me and think I dropped out.

I was a withdrawn, bookish kid all through elementary school, but the difficulty of being a misfit intensified when I started seventh grade. As I left campus at the end of my first day, people shouted insults that ensured I knew my clothes didn’t cut it. Then there was P.E., where I had to don a horrendous turquoise-striped polyester garment that looked like a baby’s onesie and follow orders to run or jump or play ball — which is hard to do when you’re deeply withdrawn — after which I had to get naked, in all my late-bloomer puniness, and take showers in front of strangers. In science class we were graded on crafting notebooks with many colors of pen; in home economics, which was only for girls — boys had shop — we learned to make a new kind of cake by combining pudding mix with cake mix; even in English class I can remember reading only one book: Dickens’s flattest novel, Hard Times. At least the old history teacher in the plaid mohair sweaters let me doze in the front row, so long as I knew the answers when asked.

In junior high, everything became a little more dangerous. Most of my peers seemed to be learning the elaborate dance between the sexes, sometimes literally, at school dances I never dreamed of attending, or in the form of the routines through which girls with pompoms ritually celebrated boys whose own role in that rite consisted of slamming into one another on the field.

I skipped my last year of traditional junior high school, detouring for ninth and tenth grade into a newly created alternative junior high. (The existing alternative high school only took eleventh and twelfth graders.) The district used this new school as a dumping ground for its most insubordinate kids, so I shared two adjoining classrooms with hard-partying teenage girls who dated adult drug dealers, boys who reeked of pot smoke, and other misfits like me. The wild kids impressed me because, unlike the timorous high achievers I’d often been grouped with at the mainstream school, they seemed fearless and free, skeptical about the systems around them.

There were only a few dozen students, and the adults treated us like colleagues. There was friendship and mild scorn but little cruelty, nothing that pitted us against one another or humiliated us, no violence, no clearly inculcated hierarchy. I didn’t gain much conventional knowledge, but I read voraciously and had good conversations. You can learn a lot that way. Besides, I hadn’t been gaining much in regular school either.

I was ravenous to learn. I’d waited for years for a proper chance at it, and the high school in my town didn’t seem like a place where I was going to get it. I passed the G.E.D. test at fifteen, started community college the following fall, and transferred after two semesters to a four-year college, where I began, at last, to get an education commensurate with my appetite.

What was it, I sometimes wonder, that I was supposed to have learned in the years of high school that I avoided? High school is often considered a definitive American experience, in two senses: an experience that nearly everyone shares, and one that can define who you are, for better or worse, for the rest of your life. I’m grateful I escaped the particular definition that high school would have imposed on me, and I wish everyone else who suffered could have escaped it, too.

For a long time I’ve thought that high school should be abolished. I don’t mean that people in their teens should not be educated at public expense. The question is what they are educated in. An abolitionist proposal should begin by acknowledging all the excellent schools and teachers and educations out there; the people who have a pleasant, useful time in high school; and the changes being wrought in the nature of secondary education today. It should also recognize the tremendous variety of schools, including charter and magnet schools in the public system and the private schools — religious, single-sex, military, and prep — that about 10 percent of American students attend, in which the values and pedagogical systems may be radically different. But despite the caveats and anomalies, the good schools and the students who thrive (or at least survive), high school is hell for too many Americans. If this is so, I wonder why people should be automatically consigned to it.

In 2010, Dan Savage began the It Gets Better Project, which has gathered and posted video testimonials from gay and lesbian adults and queer-positive supporters (tens of thousands of them, eventually, including professional sports stars and the president) to address the rash of suicides by young queer people. The testimonials reassure teenagers that there is life after high school, that before long they’ll be able to be who they are without persecution — able to find love, able to live with dignity, and able to get through each day without facing intense harassment. It’s a worthy project, but it implicitly accepts that non-straight kids must spend their formative years passing through a homophobic gauntlet before arriving at a less hostile adult world. Why should they have to wait?

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens, responsible for some 4,600 deaths per year. Federal studies report that for every suicide there are at least a hundred attempts — nearly half a million a year. Eight percent of high school students have attempted to kill themselves, and 16 percent have considered trying. That’s a lot of people crying out for something to change.

We tend to think that adolescence is inherently ridden with angst, but much of the misery comes from the cruelty of one’s peers. Twenty-eight percent of public school students and 21 percent of private school students report being bullied, and though inner-city kids are routinely portrayed in the press as menaces, the highest levels of bullying are reported among white kids and in nonurban areas. Victims of bullying are, according to a Yale study, somewhere between two and nine times more likely to attempt suicide. Why should children be confined to institutions in which these experiences are so common?

Antibullying programs have proliferated to such an extent that even the Southern Poverty Law Center has gotten involved, as though high school had joined its list of hate groups. An educational video produced by the S.P.L.C. focuses on the case of Jamie Nabozny, who successfully sued the administrators of his small-town Wisconsin school district for doing nothing to stop — and sometimes even blaming him for — the years of persecution he had suffered, including an attack that ruptured his spleen. As Catherine A. Lugg, an education scholar specializing in public school issues, later wrote, “The Nabozny case clearly illustrates the public school’s historic power as the enforcer of expected norms regarding gender, heteronormativity, and homophobia.”

I once heard Helena Norberg-Hodge, an economic analyst and linguist who studies the impact of globalization on nonindustrialized societies, say that generational segregation was one of the worst kinds of segregation in the United States. The remark made a lasting impression: that segregation was what I escaped all those years ago. My first friends were much older than I was, and then a little older; these days they are all ages. We think it’s natural to sort children into single-year age cohorts and then process them like Fords on an assembly line, but that may be a reflection of the industrialization that long ago sent parents to work away from their children for several hours every day.

Since the 1970s, Norberg-Hodge has been visiting the northern Indian region of Ladakh. When she first arrived such age segregation was unknown there. “Now children are split into different age groups at school,” Norberg-Hodge has written. “This sort of leveling has a very destructive effect. By artificially creating social units in which everyone is the same age, the ability of children to help and to learn from each other is greatly reduced.” Such units automatically create the conditions for competition, pressuring children to be as good as their peers. “In a group of ten children of quite different ages,” Norberg-Hodge argues, “there will naturally be much more cooperation than in a group of ten twelve-year-olds.”

When you are a teenager, your peers judge you by exacting and narrow criteria. But those going through the same life experiences at the same time often have little to teach one another about life. Most of us are safer in our youth in mixed-age groups, and the more time we spend outside our age cohort, the broader our sense of self. It’s not just that adults and children are good for adolescents. The reverse is also true. The freshness, inquisitiveness, and fierce idealism of a wide-awake teenager can be exhilarating, just as the stony apathy of a shut-down teenager can be dismal.

A teenager can act very differently outside his or her peer group than inside it. A large majority of hate crimes and gang rapes are committed by groups of boys and young men, and studies suggest that the perpetrators are more concerned with impressing one another and conforming to their group’s codes than with actual hatred toward outsiders. Attempts to address this issue usually focus on changing the social values to which such groups adhere, but dispersing or diluting these groups seems worth consideration, too.

High school in America is too often a place where one learns to conform or take punishment — and conformity is itself a kind of punishment, one that can flatten out your soul or estrange you from it.

High school, particularly the suburban and small-town varieties, can … [more]
rebeccasolnit  2015  highschool  education  schools  schooling  adolescence  unschooling  deschooling  oppression  teens  youth  hierarchy  agesegregation  internships  apprenticeships  mentoring  mentors  popularity  jockocracies  sports  rapeculture  us  society  peers  hatecrime  conformity  values  helenanorberg-hodge  lcproject  openstudioproject  cooperation  competition  segregation  bullying  bullies  splc  persecution  gender  sexuality  heteronormativity  homophobia  angst  cruelty  suicide  dances  prom  misfits  friendship  learning  howwelearn  srg  glvo  edg 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Opinion | The Democrats’ Gentrification Problem - The New York Times
"Research that focuses on the way city neighborhoods are changing by income, race and ethnicity, while not specifically addressed to political consequences, helps us see the potential for conflict within the Democratic coalition.

Robert J. Sampson, a sociologist at Harvard, published a detailed study in 2015 for the St. Louis Federal Reserve of the economic composition of neighborhoods. Overall, he found, “middle-income neighborhoods are tenuous,” while neighborhoods at the top and bottom of the economic ladder have remained strikingly stable."



"Upscale liberal whites “who consider themselves committed to racial justice” tend to be “NIMBYists when it comes to their neighborhoods,” Cain wrote, “not living up to their affordable housing commitments and resisting apartment density around mass transportation stops.”"



"As intraparty economic and racial divisions have increased within the Democratic coalition, the political power of the well-to-do has grown at the expense of racial and ethnic minorities."



"The maneuvers in California are a reflection of a larger problem for Democrats: their inability to reconcile the conflicts inherent in the party’s economic and racial bifurcation."



"Democratic politicians should respond by imposing higher taxes on the wealthy and spending the proceeds on the less well off."



"The progressivity of income taxes has decreased, reliance on regressive consumption taxes has increased, and the taxation of capital has followed a global race to the bottom. Instead of boosting infrastructure investment, governments have pursued austerity policies that are particularly harmful to low-skill workers. Big banks and corporations have been bailed out, but households have not. In the United States, the minimum wage has not been adjusted sufficiently, allowing it to erode in real terms."



Rodrik cites the work of the French economist Thomas Piketty, who argues that political parties on the left have been taken over, here and in Europe, “by the well-educated elite” — what Piketty calls the “Brahmin Left.” The Brahmin Left, writes Rodrik,
is not friendly to redistribution, because it believes in meritocracy — a world in which effort gets rewarded and low incomes are more likely to be the result of insufficient effort than poor luck.
"



"The Democrats will become the party of urban cosmopolitan business liberalism, and the Republicans will become the party of suburban and rural nationalist populism."



"The force that had historically pushed policy to the economic left — organized labor — has for the most part been marginalized. African-American and Hispanic voters have shown little willingness to join Democratic reform movements led by upper middle class whites, as shown in their lack of enthusiasm for Bill Bradley running against Al Gore in 2000 or Sanders running against Clinton in 2016.

The hurdle facing those seeking to democratize elite domination of the Democratic Party is finding voters and donors who have a sustained interest in redistributive policies — and the minimum wage is only a small piece of this. Achieving that goal requires an economically coherent center-left political coalition. It also requires the ability to overcome the seemingly insuperable political divisions between the white working class and the African-American and Hispanic working classes — that elusive but essential multiracial — and now multiethnic — majority. Establishing that majority in a coherent political coalition is the only way in which the economic interests of those in the bottom half of the income distribution will be effectively addressed."
inequality  us  politics  democrats  meritocracy  2018  democracy  taxes  capitalism  capital  gentrification  cities  urban  urbanism  nimbyism  california  policy  progressives  wealth  unions  labor  thomaspiketty  michaellind  danirodrik  elitism  liberalism  neoliberalism  republicans  donaldtrump  race  racism  class  classism  segregation  thomasedsall 
april 2018 by robertogreco
The Atlantic Interview: Nikole Hannah-Jones - The Atlantic
"A conversation with Nikole Hannah-Jones about race, education, and hypocrisy."



"Goldberg: What do you call “curated diversity.”

Hannah-Jones: I never talk about school inequality in terms of “diversity” because I think it’s a useless word. I think it’s a word that white people love. When I say “curated diversity,” it means white parents like a type of diversity so they’ll still be the majority and there won’t be too many black kids.

White Americans, in general, are willing to accept about the ratio of black Americans at large: 10 to 15 percent.

Goldberg: But you get into the 20s...

Hannah-Jones: When you get into the 20s, white folks start to exaggerate how large the percentage is. So in New York City, one of the most segregated school systems in the country, if you’re a white parent in the public schools, you don’t want all-white schools.

Goldberg: Because you’re a liberal?

Hannah-Jones: Yeah. But what you want is a majority-white school with a small number of black kids and a good number of Latino, a good number of Asian. That makes you feel very good about yourself because you feel like your child is getting this beautiful integrated experience. The problem is that the public schools in New York City are 70 percent black and Latino. So, for you to have your beautiful diversity, that means that most black and Latino kids get absolutely none.

The tolerance for increasing particularly the percentage of black kids is very low, and even lower if those black kids are poor. No white parents in New York City mind having my kid in their school because they feel like I’m on their level. But if you get too many of kids like mine who are black but poor, there’s very little tolerance.

Goldberg: Do most white parents in New York City achieve curated diversity for their children?

Hannah-Jones: Yes.

Goldberg: They’re winning that?

Hannah-Jones: Oh, definitely.

Goldberg: And it’s the black and Latino kids who are not winning because there’s not enough whites in that sense to go around?

Hannah-Jones: There would be. I hear this all the time: “You can’t integrate schools in York City because there’s not enough white kids.” But that's only based on the premise that you can’t expect white kids to be in the minority. The demographics of the New York City public schools are about 40 percent Latino, almost 30 percent black, 15 percent Asian, 15 percent white. If you picture a classroom like that, that's a beautiful school. That’s a beautifully diverse, integrated school. You could have that if you chose. We just don’t choose it, because we automatically say, “You can’t expect that a white parent will put their kid in school with all those black kids.”

Goldberg: If you were the dictator of America, would you outlaw private schools? Would you force all the white kids, and all the upper-middle class and upper-class African-American kids, into the public-school system? You’d have a deep level of parental involvement, right? Are private schools immoral in this context?

Hannah-Jones: Interestingly, right after Brown there was consideration of whether or not Brown had to apply to private schools, or whether we should get rid of private schools in the United States altogether, understanding that the way to subvert Brown is to simply withdraw from public schools. Which is what happened all across the South—rather than share a public good with black folks, state legislatures decided to shut down public schools altogether and pay vouchers for white students to go to private segregation academies. We think it sounds absolutely crazy to consider ending private schools, but that was a consideration.

The answer to your question is yes, you would have to. If you truly wanted to equalize and integrate schools, you would have to. But you can go a step shorter than that.

New York City public schools are majority black and Latino. But you can go to any of the suburbs around, and they’re very heavily white. So in New York and all across the North, you could simply move into an all-white community and go to all-white public schools. And that’s how you avoided desegregation. In the South, most school districts were countywide. So you either paid for private school or you dealt with desegregation. In the North, you didn’t have to do that.

The key difference between the North and the South is for the vast majority of the history of this country, 90 percent of all black people lived in the South. The South responds with Jim Crow, by passing laws that restrict the movement of black people. The North doesn’t have to do that. It has a very tiny black population. It’s only once black people start migrating out of the South in the 1900s that the North shows its true ugly racist head."



"
Hannah-Jones: I am only writing and speaking to liberals at this point. I'm trying to get people who say they believe in equality and integration but act in ways that maintain inequality and segregation to live their own values. The most segregated parts of the country are all in the progressive North. If you could just get white liberals to live their values, you could have a significant amount of integration.

Goldberg: You know what group of people who would be really uncomfortable listening to you talk? The heads of progressive private schools in New York City, Boston, Washington.

Hannah-Jones: But here’s the thing. We’re in a capitalist country and if you can pay for something, then so be it. What I’m dealing with are public schools which are publicly funded for the public good. Every child should walk into a public school and get the same education. Those are the parents that I’m speaking to. What we are finding are parents who say they believe in a common good but they want a public school that operates like a private school—you can screen out the kids you don’t want, you can hoard resources in the school, you can hoard all the best teachers, you can determine what curriculum you’re going to get. And if that means that two miles down the road, another publicly-funded school doesn’t get any of that, then so be it. That, to me, is the height of hypocrisy."
education  nikolehannah-jones  2017  schools  publicschools  policy  integration  desegregation  segregation  resegregation  children  parenting  privateschools  learning  hypocrisy  us  race  racism  diversity 
december 2017 by robertogreco
The Double Empathy Problem: Developing Empathy and Reciprocity in Neurotypical Adults | Ryan Boren
"My oldest is autistic. He attended elementary school until a few years ago, when we started unschooling. He has an incredible memory that provides gritty texture to his stories of his time there. Stories about forced neurotypicalization, lack of empathy and understanding, and color-coded behaviorism. Stories about the pathologizing of his wonderful mind that killed confidence, making room for shame to unfurl. Such stories are common in deficit and medical model cultures, which is why we need a social model awakening.

A pernicious stereotype about autism is that autistic people lack empathy. To be openly autistic is to encounter and endure this supremely harmful trope. One of the cruel ironies of autistic life is that autistic folks are likely to be hyper-empathic. Another irony is that neurotypicals and NT society are really, really bad at empathy and reciprocity. When your neurotype is the default, you have little motivation to grow critical capacity. Marginalization develops critical distance and empathic imagination.

We have an empathy problem, and it’s not one confined to autistic people. It’s a double empathy problem.
The ‘double empathy problem’ refers to the mutual incomprehension that occurs between people of different dispositional outlooks and personal conceptual understandings when attempts are made to communicate meaning.


Source: From finding a voice to being understood: exploring the double empathy problem

Neurodivergent people are forced to attempt understanding of neurotypical people and society. We are constantly judged and assessed by neurotypical standards. We must analyze and interpret in order to conform and pass so that we can get the sticker, the “cool kid cash”, and the promotion. There is almost no reciprocity in return. Let’s change that. Turn the diagnostic lens upon yourself. Question assumptions, learn about other matrices of sociality, and reciprocate.
Empathy and communication go two ways, and neurotypical folks haven’t shown much interest in meeting neurodivergent folks halfway. Reciprocity is a basic tenet of social skills, and neurotypicals are often incapable of reciprocity outside of their usual scripts. We autistics are called mind-blind by folks who have made zero effort to understand and empathize with neurodivergent minds, who are utterly ignorant of alternative matrices of sociality.

Source: Autistic Empathy – Ryan Boren

In that post on autistic empathy are many resources to help neurotypical folks develop empathy for neurodivergent perspectives. My school district’s work on in-class inclusion of neurodivergent and disabled students is a great and wonderful relief. Segregation is always lesser and wrong. Let’s continue that progress toward social model understanding with attention to the mutual incomprehension of the double empathy problem. “When the adults change, everything changes.”"



"“Empathy is not an autistic problem, it’s a human problem, it’s a deficit in imagination.” We can’t truly step into another neurotype, but we can seek story and perspective. I’ll leave you with this video offering a taste what it is like to endure the daily gauntlet of neurotypical questioning. To not respond to questions is to be called rude. To not respond will get you publicly color-coded as an orange or red and denied perks that the compliant NT kids get. To not exchange this disposable social styrofoam is to be a problem. Make it stop. Empathize with what it is like to navigate these interactions while dealing with the sensory overwhelm of raucous environments not designed for you."
ryanboren  autism  neurodiversity  empathy  2017  communication  inclusion  inclusivity  segregation  marginalization  unschooling  deschooling  schools  education  learning  reciprocity 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Education, Neurodiversity, the Social Model of Disability, and Real Life | Ryan Boren
""Great minds don’t always think alike.
To face the challenges of the future, we’ll need the problem-solving abilities of different types of minds working together."
Source: Steve Silberman recommends the best books on Autism

Instead of connecting neurodivergent and disabled kids with an identity, tribe, and voice, we segregate and marginalize them. We medicalize and assess them. We demand their compliance and rarely ask for consent. We define their identities through the deficit and medical models and then tell them to get some grit and growth mindset. We reduce emancipatory tech to remedial chains.

Let’s embrace instead the voice and choice of self-directed, passion-based learning informed by neurodiversity, the social model of disability, and assistive technology. Create a future of education and work where diverse teams use technology to communicate, collaborate, iterate, and launch to authentic audiences of fellow humans.

End the segregation of special. Fix injustice, not kids. Together, we will iterate our way through massive software-driven change. We will navigate disruption with compassion, finding opportunity and inspiration in the diversity of our shared humanity. We are humans making things for and with other humans, helping each other cope with sentience and senescence on our pale blue dot.

To that end, the quotes and resources below provide a primer on neurodiversity, the social model of disability, and design for real life. The social model, for both minds and bodies, is essential to inclusive design. We are responsible for humanizing flow in the systems we inhabit, and we need the social model to do it."
ryanboren  neurodiversity  2016  assessment  disabilities  disability  technology  accessibility  compliance  consent  segregation  marginalization  self-directedlearning  self-directed  compassion  diversity  education  learning 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Have We Lost Sight of the Promise of Public Schools? - The New York Times
"The word derives from the Latin word publicus, meaning “of the people.” This concept — that the government belongs to the people and the government should provide for the good of the people — was foundational to the world’s nascent democracies. Where once citizens paid taxes to the monarchy in the hope that it would serve the public too, in democracies they paid taxes directly for infrastructure and institutions that benefited society as a whole. The tax dollars of ancient Athenians and Romans built roads and aqueducts, but they also provided free meals to widows whose husbands died in war. “Public” stood not just for how something was financed — with the tax dollars of citizens — but for a communal ownership of institutions and for a society that privileged the common good over individual advancement.

Early on, it was this investment in public institutions that set America apart from other countries. Public hospitals ensured that even the indigent received good medical care — health problems for some could turn into epidemics for us all. Public parks gave access to the great outdoors not just to the wealthy who could retreat to their country estates but to the masses in the nation’s cities. Every state invested in public universities. Public schools became widespread in the 1800s, not to provide an advantage for particular individuals but with the understanding that shuffling the wealthy and working class together (though not black Americans and other racial minorities) would create a common sense of citizenship and national identity, that it would tie together the fates of the haves and the have-nots and that doing so benefited the nation. A sense of the public good was a unifying force because it meant that the rich and the poor, the powerful and the meek, shared the spoils — as well as the burdens — of this messy democracy."



"As the civil rights movement gained ground in the 1950s and 1960s, however, a series of court rulings and new laws ensured that black Americans now had the same legal rights to public schools, libraries, parks and swimming pools as white Americans. But as black Americans became part of the public, white Americans began to pull away. Instead of sharing their public pools with black residents — whose tax dollars had also paid for them — white Americans founded private clubs (often with public funds) or withdrew behind their fences where they dug their own pools. Public housing was once seen as a community good that drew presidents for photo ops. But after federal housing policies helped white Americans buy their own homes in the suburbs, black Americans, who could not get government-subsidized mortgages, languished in public housing, which became stigmatized. Where once public transportation showed a city’s forward progress, white communities began to fight its expansion, fearing it would give unwanted people access to their enclaves.

As black Americans became part of the public, white Americans began to pull away.

And white Americans began to withdraw from public schools or move away from school districts with large numbers of black children once the courts started mandating desegregation. Some communities shuttered public schools altogether rather than allow black children to share publicly funded schools with white children. The very voucher movement that is at the heart of DeVos’s educational ideas was born of white opposition to school desegregation as state and local governments offered white children vouchers to pay for private schools — known as segregation academies — that sprouted across the South after the Supreme Court struck down school segregation in 1954.

“What had been enjoyed as a public thing by white citizens became a place of forced encounter with other people from whom they wanted to be separate,” Bonnie Honig, a professor of political science and modern culture and media at Brown University and author of the forthcoming book “Public Things: Democracy in Disrepair,” told me. “The attractiveness of private schools and other forms of privatization are not just driven by economization but by the desire to control the community with which you interact.”

Even when they fail, the guiding values of public institutions, of the public good, are equality and justice. The guiding value of the free market is profit. The for-profit charters DeVos helped expand have not provided an appreciably better education for Detroit’s children, yet they’ve continued to expand because they are profitable — or as Tom Watkins, Michigan’s former education superintendent, said, “In a number of cases, people are making a boatload of money, and the kids aren’t getting educated.”

Democracy works only if those who have the money or the power to opt out of public things choose instead to opt in for the common good. It’s called a social contract, and we’ve seen what happens in cities where the social contract is broken: White residents vote against tax hikes to fund schools where they don’t send their children, parks go untended and libraries shutter because affluent people feel no obligation to help pay for things they don’t need. “The existence of public things — to meet each other, to fight about, to pay for together, to enjoy, to complain about — this is absolutely indispensable to democratic life,” Honig says.

If there is hope for a renewal of our belief in public institutions and a common good, it may reside in the public schools. Nine of 10 children attend one, a rate of participation that few, if any, other public bodies can claim, and schools, as segregated as many are, remain one of the few institutions where Americans of different classes and races mix. The vast multiracial, socioeconomically diverse defense of public schools that DeVos set off may show that we have not yet given up on the ideals of the public — and on ourselves."
schools  publicschools  education  2017  democracy  race  integration  segregation  inequality  socialjustice  society  publicgood  power  money  economics  socialcontact  nikolehannah-jones  newdeal  racism 
october 2017 by robertogreco
How a North Carolina School Segregated Again - CityLab
"From the mid-1970s until the early 1990s, Charlotte was the most desegregated major school system in the country, and West Charlotte High School was its flagship. A 1969 federal ruling mandated that each Charlotte school’s student body be 70 percent white and 30 percent black, to match the system-wide demographic.

After a few rocky years, families, students, teachers, and administrators settled in to busing and integration, and Charlotte became a national success story. In 1974, when Boston erupted in violence over its first year of full-scale, court-ordered busing, West Charlotte High hosted students from South Boston so they could see integration in action.

But in 1999, a year after Grundy decided to pen West Charlotte High’s story, a federal judge ordered the city to stop using race in school assignments. Busing ceased. “It was shocking,” says Grundy.

Today, West Charlotte High is 85 percent African American, and almost 83 percent of its students are economically disadvantaged.

Accordingly, Grundy’s book, Color and Character: West Charlotte High and the American Struggle over Educational Equality, published this month, explores not only West Charlotte High’s integration success, but also its subsequent devolution through legislation, increased inequality, and urban displacement.

CityLab caught up with Grundy to talk about the school’s trajectory and what residents can do to foster more equal schools in their communities.

What made West Charlotte High’s integration work?

West Charlotte was the only historically black high school left in the city, and there was a lot of conflict over which white kids were going to have go to it. In the end, a group of wealthy, white parents decided that they were going to put their kids on those buses, and this served as a catalyst. There was a strong sense among them that they were doing something bigger than themselves and their children. The city’s leaders also made integration a priority, as having Charlotte’s schools in racial turmoil did not advance the city’s reputation on the national stage.

It was tough for the West Charlotte community to see their school change. It was an elite black school with strong black teachers. But they welcomed the white students.

What were some successes of West Charlotte High School as an integrated school?

Having the children of powerful parents brought more resources to the school, which strengthened its materials and curriculum. It also had great music and drama programs and sports teams, and the community felt that the school's diversity played a key role in that success.

And if you talk to alumni from the heyday of integration, they all say how much it meant to them to know different types of kids. West Charlotte was very balanced: The black and white students came from a variety of economic backgrounds, and an ESL program brought immigrants as well. No one was dominant, and that meant kids felt that they could try on different identities, be part of different groups.

What about the challenges?

There were stereotypes and misconceptions to overcome. It took work to integrate some of the extracurricular activities, and especially to make sure that black students were in advanced classes.

The other problem, even as schools were integrating, is that Charlotte itself became more segregated by income and race. In the 1980s we see the income gap start to widen, as Ronald Reagan’s economic policies—tax cuts, decreased social spending, deregulation—benefit the well-off and harm the poor. Developers built housing for affluent, mostly white residents in the suburbs. Low-income housing for mostly black residents became even more clustered in the city’s center. These changes made it more difficult to bus, because blacks and whites were living farther from each other. [Editors’ note: See the maps below for an illustration of how segregation increased in Charlotte from 1970 to 1990.]

How did the increase in economic and spatial inequality contribute to West Charlotte High’s resegregation?

The city reassigned students to schools primarily based on where they lived. Because of the concentration of poverty in the city center, West Charlotte's population ended up as the city’s poorest and least diverse.

This occurred at a time when parents were feeling more anxiety about schooling, with a greater focus on the well-being of individual children rather than larger social goals. There was a scramble to get kids to what were seen as the better schools, and when families from better-off areas were given the choice to continue sending their children to West Charlotte, most didn’t. And many more-prosperous families who were newly assigned to West Charlotte sent their children to magnet programs instead. The school was faced with educating a large number of the city’s most challenged children.

For a long time, policymakers were operating with the idea that a school’s demographics didn’t matter, that the right combination of training, testing, and accountability could lift up any school. Charlotte has tried a lot of that, and it doesn’t work. Schools with high concentrations of low-income students are trying to counter all the challenges in those students’ lives—and they just can’t. There’s a lot of stress and instability when you’re poor. For instance, it’s hard for low-income families to find affordable housing, so a lot of families are constantly moving. That’s hard on kids.

There are dedicated, hardworking teachers at these schools, as well as students who overcome great obstacles and succeed. But there’s also a lot of turnover. It’s hard to recruit experienced teachers, and the less-experienced teachers tend to burn out quickly or move to higher-income schools as soon as they can. High-stakes standardized testing creates a huge amount of stress, and it often turns into an exercise in shame and punishment when scores are low.

I strongly believe that if you want schools to be equal, they have to be racially and economically integrated. The community as a whole has to have a stake in all the schools. But there’s so much emphasis on choice now—on making what you think is the best individual decision for your child—rather than working toward a common good. Choice and competition mainly benefit families and communities that already have resources. And there isn't much appetite at the state or federal level to pursue integration. Nor is there a desire among leaders at any level to challenge the market forces that are increasing inequality. Without some of these larger shifts, there’s a limit to what schools can do.

So, in many ways, it doesn’t seem like change is coming down the pike. But we can start with small, local efforts. For instance, the Charlotte school board recently decided to pair two sets of schools—two low poverty and two high poverty—that are relatively close to each other. In each pairing, all the students will go to one school for K-2 and the other for 3-5. Some parents will send their kids to private or charter schools to avoid the arrangement. But others will do it.

It isn’t nearly enough, but we have to start somewhere."

[See also:
"The Resegregation of Jefferson County: What one Alabama town’s attempt to secede from its school district tells us about the fragile progress of racial integration in America."
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/magazine/the-resegregation-of-jefferson-county.html ]
schools  publicschools  integration  segregation  histoy  race  racism  us  charlotte  northcarolina  history  housing  2017  mimikirk  inequality  equality  pamelagrundy  economics  choice  magnetschools  competition  policy  politics  society  regression  charterschools 
september 2017 by robertogreco
California Über Alles | Ann Friedman
"It’s tempting to interpret the waning economic prospects and cultural relevance of rural America as an inevitable consequence of casual bigotry. If these people were just a bit more forward-looking—more accepting of immigrants and gay people, more interested in new technology—then maybe people like me would stay put. And maybe those states would still be attracting employers. Maybe there would be TV shows and movies set there. Maybe they’d even be drawing in transplants rather than hemorrhaging the best and brightest of each generation. Oppressive state laws can drive people away; in several states, for example, major businesses have scuttled investment plans in response to anti-LGBT legislation. The Associated Press found that North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill, passed last year, will end up costing the state at least $3.76 billion over twelve years in canceled business.

Yet in the end, this vision of culture-wide economic payback for the politically backward interior is as much a fantasy as the notion that Trump can bring back manufacturing jobs. The real reason that jobs have disappeared from large swathes of the country has more to do with neoliberalism than with social issues. Broadly speaking, California is a winner in this system. Most other places in America are not.

The Golden State has long contained some of the richest zip codes in the country, but it’s increasingly becoming a state where only the wealthy can build a decent life for themselves. This is apparent in places like Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights, where my friend flies his rebel flag but rising housing prices are breaking up the Latino community that’s called the neighborhood home since the 1950s. Zoom out the lens, and you can see that it’s not just a local issue: since 2011, housing prices across the state have gone up 71 percent. That’s had real consequences. Between 2007 and 2014, more people left California than migrated here. Leading the exodus were people without college degrees—in other words, the same demographic that’s credited with delivering Trump a landslide victory in red states.

The hard truth about liberal secession fantasies is that California is not a place where progressive policies enable everyone to become successful. It’s a place to which people move to enjoy their success when they’ve beaten the odds elsewhere. As Kendrick Lamar reminded us, people come to California for “women, weed, and weather”—not decent wages, affordable education, and accessible health care.

Ruiz Evans’s case for secession rests on the claim that Californians’ “views on education, science, immigration, taxation and healthcare are different” from those prevailing in much of the rest of the country. This is certainly true when you look at polling on the issues. But when it comes to policies and outcomes, California’s unique values are less apparent. To take just the first example on Ruiz Evans’s list, California’s per-pupil spending on K-12 education has declined for years, falling well below the national average. In this realm, California is comparable to states like Florida and Texas—even though California also boasts some of the highest-performing high schools in the nation. This is not a sign of our more progressive views on education; it’s an indication that the state is deeply segregated along lines of race and class."



"The heartland isn’t monolithically conservative. My home state of Iowa split its Senate seats for decades, electing both a liberal member and a conservative one, and many of the midwestern states that delivered Trump the Electoral College have a similar history of mixed representation. Now that Trump is going to fail to deliver on his promises to improve the economic prospects of the people who voted for him in these states, the time is ripe for liberals to put forth an economic agenda that rests not on racial fearmongering but on guaranteed access to health care, fair wages, education, and affordable housing.

And as it turns out, these needs are every bit as acute in California as they are in Iowa. To move toward a true majoritarian liberal strategy means we must challenge more than a few ingrained narratives about American politics. It means rejecting the fallacy that California is a liberal utopia, a place where we coastal transplants can enjoy the moral high ground over our high school classmates who remained in our hometowns to raise their families. It also means dispensing with the opposite fallacy: that those who stayed behind have some sort of shopworn dignity that the rest of us lack.

And this is because, ultimately, division helps Trump advance his agenda. It keeps Republicans firmly in control of state legislatures and the House. So we must resist the urge to smugly turn our backs on the glum spectacle of the self-inflicted economic immolation of Trump country. We must keep it together. If you had a choice about where to build your life, you now have an obligation—not to move back to your beleaguered homeland, but to stay engaged with it. And if you hope to maintain any genuine sort of moral high ground in your adopted state, you have an obligation there, too: to work to make its policies align with your beliefs.

This is not, as Rich suggests, as simple as adopting Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip rhetorical style. Nor is it a question of luring venture capitalists to rural Ohio—where, in all likelihood, they would bring the same mounting inequality and diminished returns that have made Silicon Valley a fortress of paper wealth. It’s a matter of supporting candidates who share our values and have a track record of actually getting them enacted in policy. That’s a hard thing to prove when Democrats are not in power. But as I write these words, opinion polls show that Bernie Sanders is the most popular political leader in the country. Surely that suggests an opportunity to build on the best parts of his 2016 platform and to get behind other Democrats who are known for supporting such policies. There are several, like Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren, who enjoy a cross-demographic appeal. The time is also ripe to capitalize on the fiasco of Trumpcare and place single-payer health reform back on the table. Similar opportunities will surely present themselves on other issues, from education reform to infrastructure investment, as the president fails to deliver on promises to his base. The trick will be to continue to frame these issues as nationwide problems that we all have a stake in solving.

Those of us who have the economic freedom to migrate to pursue better jobs and a broad range of economic opportunities are the ones who bear the greatest burden for bridging the country’s internal geopolitical divides. Believe me, I understand the temptation to separate yourself: it’s true that I am different from the people I grew up with who chose to stay in Iowa. Part of that difference is, now, an economic and cultural advantage. So I have a dual responsibility: to see that California actually makes good on its professed values, and to ensure that those values incorporate the rest of America. Refusing to rationalize elite neglect is the real rebellion."
california  politics  policy  economics  work  labor  inequality  annfriedman  2017  education  healthcare  segregation  progressivism  class  race  classism  racism  homeless  homelessness  housing  donaldtrump  division  us  secession  siliconvalley  democrats  highereducation  highered  property  proposition13  elitism  migration  freedom  values  exclusion  inclusion  inclusivity  berniesanders  sherrodbrown  elizabethwarren  singlepayer  livingwage  affordability 
june 2017 by robertogreco
The Complacent Class (Episode 1/5) - YouTube
[See also: http://learn.mruniversity.com/everyday-economics/tyler-cowen-on-american-culture-and-innovation/ ]

"Restlessness has long been seen as a signature trait of what it means to be American. We've been willing to cross great distances, take big risks, and adapt to change in way that has produced a dynamic economy. From Ben Franklin to Steve Jobs, innovation has been firmly rooted in American DNA.

What if that's no longer true?

Let’s take a journey back to the 19th century – specifically, the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. At that massive event, people got to do things like ride a ferris wheel, go on a moving sidewalk, see a dishwasher, see electric light, or even try modern chewing gum for the very first time. More than a third of the entire U.S. population at that time attended. And remember, this was 1893 when travel was much more difficult and costly.

Fairs that shortly followed Chicago included new inventions and novelties the telephone, x-ray machine, hot dogs, and ice cream cones.

These earlier years of American innovation were filled with rapid improvement in a huge array of industries. Railroads, electricity, telephones, radio, reliable clean water, television, cars, airplanes, vaccines and antibiotics, nuclear power – the list goes on – all came from this era.

After about the 1970s, innovation on this scale slowed down. Computers and communication have been the focus. What we’ve seen more recently has been mostly incremental improvements, with the large exception of smart phones.

This means that we’ve experienced a ton of changes in our virtual world, but surprisingly few in our physical world. For example, travel hasn’t much improved and, in some cases, has even slowed down. The planes we’re primarily using? They were designed half a century ago.

Since the 1960s, our culture has gotten less restless, too. It’s become more bureaucratic. The sixties and seventies ushered in a wave of protests and civil disobedience. But today, people hire protests planners and file for permits. The demands for change are tamer compared to their mid-century counterparts.

This might not sound so bad. We’ve entered a golden age for many of our favorite entertainment options. Americans are generally better off than ever before. But the U.S. economy is less dynamic. We’re stagnating. We’re complacent. What does mean for our economic and cultural future?"

[The New Era of Segregation (Episode 2/5)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNlA_Zz1_bM

Do you live in a “bubble?” There’s a good chance that the answer is, at least in part, a resounding “Yes.”

In our algorithm-driven world, digital servants cater to our individual preferences like never before. This has caused many improvements to our daily lives. For example, instead of gathering the kids together for a frustrating Blockbuster trip to pick out a VHS for family movie night, you can simply scroll through kid-friendly titles on Netflix that have been narrowed down based on your family’s previous viewing history. Not so bad.

But this algorithmic matching isn’t limited to entertainment choices. We’re also getting matched to spouses of a similar education level and earning potential. More productive workers are able to get easily matched to more productive firms. On the individual level, this is all very good. Our digital servants are helping us find better matches and improving our lives.

What about at the macro level? All of this matching can also produce more segregation – but on a much broader level than just racial segregation. People with similar income and education levels, and who do similar types of work, are more likely to cluster into their own little bubbles. This matching has consequences, and they’re not all virtual.

Power couples and highly productive workers are concentrating in metropolises like New York City and San Francisco. With many high earners, lots of housing demand, and strict building codes, rents in these types of cities are skyrocketing. People with lower incomes simply can no longer afford the cost of living, so they leave. New people with lower incomes also aren’t coming in, so we end up with a type of self-reinforcing segregation.

If you think back to the 2016 U.S. election, you’ll remember that most political commentators, who tend to reside in trendy large cities, were completely shocked by the rise of Donald Trump. What part did our new segregation play in their inability to understand what was happening in middle America?

In terms of racial segregation, there are worrying trends. The variety and level of racism of we’ve seen in the past may be on the decline, but the data show less residential racial mixing among whites and minorities.

Why does this matter? For a dynamic economy, mixing a wide variety of people in everyday life is crucial for the development of ideas and upward mobility. If matching is preventing mixing, we have to start making intentional changes to improve socio-economic integration and bring dynamism back into the American economy."]
safety  control  life  us  innovation  change  invention  risk  risktaking  stasis  travel  transportation  dynamism  stagnation  economics  crisis  restlessness  tylercowen  fiterbubbles  segregation  protest  communication  disobedience  compliance  civildisobedience  infrastructure  complacency  2017  algorithms  socialmobility  inequality  race  class  filterbubbles  incomeinequality  isolation  cities  urban  urbanism 
march 2017 by robertogreco
David Byrne | Journal | A Society in Miniature
"How does one learn to think different?

The Tate show is wonderful, even if it only covers a smattering of Bob’s prodigious output. The curator, Achim Borchardt-Hume, met my friend and I, and we began to ask about the place where Bob spent some of his formative years, Black Mountain College, in western North Carolina, near Asheville. We were curious what sort of place would nurture the innovation and free thinking of someone like Bob, as well as that of host of other writers, artists, architects, composers and choreographers who passed through that place. Ultimately one wants to know, can that spark be re-ignited, in a contemporary way?

That tiny place in Asheville North Carolina seemed to possess some magic ingredient during its relatively short life—pre- and post-WWII—that produced an incredible number of ground-breaking creators in a wide range of fields. It almost seemed as if everyone who was touched by that place, by their experience there, went on to a have a major impact in the 20th century, and beyond.

It was established in 1933, during the depths of the economic depression, and by the time the war was in full swing the faculty included an amazing group of people. Here is a partial list: Josef and Anni Albers, he a teacher and artist from the Bauhaus in Germany, she a textile artist; Walter Gropius, the innovative German modernist architect; painter Jacob Lawrence; the painters Elaine and Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell; Alfred Kazin, the writer; Buckminster Fuller the writer and architect—he made his dome there in ‘48; Paul Goodman, the playwright and social critic and poet Charles Olson. Poet William Carlos Williams and even Albert Einstein eventually joined the staff, as well.

The students were a hugely influential and innovative bunch, too. As word spread others visited there during their summer sessions to create new work—in 1952, John Cage came down and staged his first "happening" here while students Rauschenberg and Merce Cunningham assisted him with what later became known as performance art. There were painters Cy Twombly, Kenneth Noland, Dorothea Rockburne, Ben Shahn, Franz Kline, film director (Bonnie and Clyde!) Arthur Penn, writer Francine du Plessix Gray and poet Robert Creeley.

What kind of place could attract and nurture this diverse group of people?

One can’t help but wonder if there was a formula and if the kind of radical innovation that happened there and that was carried out into the world can be repeated. What was that formula? Was it the teachers? The location? The philosophy? The students—the self-selected types who opted to try that kind of experiment?

Here are the basics of the school’s philosophy. John Rice, the founder, believed that the arts are as important as academic subjects:

1. There was less segregation between disciplines than what might find at a conventional school.
2. There was also no separation between faculty and students; they ate together and mingled freely.
3. There were no grades.
4. One didn’t have to attend classes. During break sessions the faculty trusted the students, and, as a result—without the top down rules—the students worked harder than during normal class times.
5. Here’s what now seems like a really radical idea—manual labor (gardening, construction, etc) was also key. Try that at Harvard!. No one had outside jobs; they they all chipped in to build the actual school and to help serving meals or doing maintenance. The schools finances were somewhat precarious, so this was an practical economical measure as well as being philosophical. In order to allow for these daytime activities and work, classes were often scheduled at night!

A Society in Miniature—Created by its Members

It was also believed that the school community should be a kind of miniature society and to that end it should be democratic and communal. Students were on the school board and they chimed in on hiring and all the other decisions. All of these things—the work, play and learning balance, the non separation of disciplines and the self determination—were believed by the founders to be equally important. Students, Rice believed, learned better through experience than from the passing on of rote information. It was not a top down kind of education—it was non-hierarchical in that sense—and one was encouraged to discover things for oneself. Not all students are cut out for this (some kids do need discipline!), but the ones that did thrived. Needless to say, that also meant that as a result collaboration, experimentation and work across disciplines was all encouraged. The idea was less to turn out clever academics, but rather to help students find themselves and become a “complete person”. You weren’t learning a trade, but learning how to think, how to collaborate and cooperate.

The overarching theme as I see it (but maybe not explicitly expressed) is that students—with the help of the faculty—were here to create a kind of society in miniature. THIS was the deep and rich experience that they would take with them—something far more profound than specific lessons in creative writing, engineering or color theory.

I asked the curator, Achim, if these new ideas about progressive education and their implementation were what was primarily responsible for the explosion of creativity in this tiny school. He said, yes, those factors were influential, but just as much were other factors—the fact that many of the faculty were refugees (those pesky immigrants!) from the rise of nationalism and intolerance going on in Europe at the time. So you had this influx of some of the best and the brightest. The little college reached out for talent and they came to this little tolerant oasis in the Smoky Mountains. Oddly they did not end up at the big name universities—they gravitated to the mountains of North Carolina. (Though later some did end up at Yale and elsewhere.)

Rice himself asked Josef Albers to create the arts curriculum (though Philip Johnson made the recommendation), as the Bauhaus was being shuttered as Nazi influence grew across Germany. Albers was key in mixing disciplines in the arts department; there was little distinction made between fine and decorative arts (Ani Albers made nice rugs), as well none between architecture, theater, music, dance and writing. A writer in the literature deparment developed the pottery program. I personally find Albers artwork boring, but as pedagogical aids (and demonstrations of how our eyes and brains work) they are gorgeous. There’s an interactive tablet app version of his course available now—lots of fun.

Rauschenberg was very receptive to Werklehre, Albers's teaching method that incorporated design elements. In his teaching, Alber used various non-traditional art materials like paper, wire, rocks and wood to demonstrate the possibilities and limits of those various materials. He would have his students fold paper into sculptures so that they might understand the three dimensional properties of what is ordinarily seen as two dimensional. He had them solve color problems by devising situations in which colors are perceived differently in different environments. For a comparison, this was not about learning oil painting techniques

Bob hated Albers—he was too didactic for Bob’s freewheeling sensibility. But to his credit, Albers realized his limitations and brought in others who were very different in sensibility than he and his wife. He allowed for difference. Bob too adapted, he recognized the value of the discipline that Albers espoused.

Achim pointed out that these innovative artists allowed the Black Mountain students to experience the most innovative ideas that had been emerging in Europe firsthand (see learning by experience above). They were getting this stuff before many others and in a more visceral way. Intolerance was draining the sources of innovation from large parts of Europe and they would find roots in this odd corner of the New World.

The place Asheville was and still is an island of open mindedness and tolerance in a state that is fairly conservative. Other southern colleges were still quite segregated, but Black Mountain bravely bucked that tradition. They admitted Alma Stone Williams, the first black student to attend an all white educational institution in the South. I’m going to propose that the atmosphere in Asheville might have helped to allow these things to happen; in other southern towns Ms. Williams would have been hounded and possibly driven out. (That said, some of the locals thought the school as all about wild behavior and orgies.) The school wanted to bring the (NY-based black) painter Jacob Lawrence to visit, but busses, as we know, were segregated at the time, so they had a car drive him all the way down from NY. Homosexuality was tolerated there, as well, which, given that word of this tolerance might have gotten out, all of this may have encouraged young men who didn’t fit in to attend this college—a place where they wouldn’t be viewed simply as perverts and freaks. In this too I’d argue that Asheville had a tolerant hand.

Bob continued to be active post Black Mountain, and, though we might consider the idea naive, he believed in the power of art to bring people together. His series of international collaborations—ROCI—produced some wonderful work, but maybe just as important, his presence in many countries kick started a whole generation of younger artists in those places around the world.

Is This a Model for Today?

Are you kidding? Yes, in all ways—in the collaborations and the innovative work, in the tolerance and welcoming of the persecuted and unappreciated. We need to look to this place and time as a model for today—and boy do we need it now more than ever!

Why should we emulate this? Well, because it works! The ideas that flowed out of this place changed the course of 20th century innovation in a wide range of fields, and the influence is still being … [more]
2017  davidbyrne  bmc  blackmountaincollege  via:austinkleon  sfsh  education  thinking  learning  society  pocketsofutopia  utopia  roberrauschenberg  anialbers  josefalbers  achimborchardt-hume  jacoblawrence  diversity  johnrice  segregation  integration  agesegregation  hierarchy  horizontality  grades  grading  bauhaus  refugees  werklehre  asheville  almastonewilliams  alberteinstein  inclusivity  interdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  johncage  process  tcsnnmy  progressive  johndewey  work  community  democracy 
february 2017 by robertogreco
School Segregation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - YouTube
"Public schools are increasingly divided by race and class. John Oliver discusses the troubling trend towards school resegregation."
johnoliver  race  us  schools  desegregation  segregation  resegregation  policy  parenting 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Bat, Bean, Beam: The school as utopia
"What might a radically more just society look like? How would its decisions be made, and by whom? What would its economy look like, whom would it trade with and how? Even radicals may not always have ready, concrete answers to these questions. Contrary to Jameson’s famous quip, it’s not the end of capitalism that is especially hard to imagine – science-fiction writers do it all the time – but rather the connections from the present to any of our available futures.

It is customary to attribute the current dearth of utopian thinking to the historical defeat of the great anti-capitalist ideology, particularly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, coupled with the runaway financialisation of the most advanced capitalist economies. I’m rather more inclined to credit the second part of the equation than the first: for even if socialism – or whatever you want to call it – could still be imagined outside the form of the nation state (as it most certainly can), what is fast disappearing inside it are opportunities for alternative, concrete forms of self-determination and emancipation. There can be no factory councils without factories. There can be no workers’ rights not just without unions, but without a common, unifying notion of what labour is. Reduced to a life-long state of precarity that mimics grotesquely the dynamics of the most profitable trades, or of professions such as the lawyer or the physician – everyone is a contractor, everyone is their own boss – many if not most workers have been successfully alienated from their class, therefore from the ability to organise and articulate a common experience.

Which is what makes the few remaining spaces in which the utopian imagination can be exercised all the more precious.

Over the past two weeks I reprinted as many translations of texts from a historical past in which schools were viewed as the incubators of a new, more equal society, or alternatively as the first in a series of institutions designed to imprison, subdue and mould the citizen-subject to be to the needs of an oppressive one. I can think of my own education as falling a little under column A, and a little under column B. At any rate, there is always a real-world tension between those two pictures. Do our schools teach creativity or conformity? Do they produce obedient workers or autonomous citizens? When they strive for equality, in whose image is their model student created? And what or whom does that image leave out?

This tension notwithstanding, public education in most countries is a playground for practical utopias. Almost universally, the principal, stated goal of compulsory, state-funded education is to remedy the accident of birth, that is to say strive to ensure the same outcomes between children of different backgrounds. I say “stated” for a reason: in practice, this goal can be compromised upon and co-opted in a variety of ways. But that rhetorically even the political right should agree that the task of state education is to make up for economic disadvantage is something to hold on to. And to build on.

You could even say – hell, I’m just about to say it – that a state school is a little proto-socialist society, in which everyone receives according to their need and gives according to their ability. Furthermore, this society insists on pursuing recreation and the liberal arts, often in the face of pressures to narrow its teachings to what will be ‘most useful in life’. This latter demand, which intensifies as students get older, ultimately reveals the other objective of the school system, which is to serve the needs of the economy. In this double articulation we glimpse again the tension exemplified by the writings of De Amicis and Papini. At one end, there is the school that creates a society of equals; at the other, the school that trains children to take orders and habituates them to the hierarchies of the adult world.

Regular followers of this blog will know that one of my preoccupations over the years has been to advocate for inclusive education, meaning an education that expands to accommodate all children, with their full range of learning abilities. This was not always part of the mission of state education, whose history the world over was long marked by the total removal and exclusion of disabled children. Segregation is still very common in Aotearoa, in residential schools but more often through special schools and units. However, significant progress has been made over the last two decades, thanks to the self-advocacy of disabled people and their supporters, and as part of a global movement, to include all children in the ‘regular’ classroom: a progress sadly countervailed by the reluctance of the neoliberal state to properly recognise these rights and provide for full participation.

The situation therefore is one in which, even in the proto-socialist societies I’ve described, children with disabilities are second-class citizens, subject to diminished access to the buildings and the curriculum, and to borderline-obsessive rituals of verification and assessment that their peers are spared. A cruel inversion of the competitive principle of school choice forces these children and their families to move from public school to public school, hoping to find one that will ‘choose’ them.

The struggle against this oppression continues. But – and this is the main point I want to make today – the vision for a truly inclusive school system has a secondary but crucial value, which is to expand our utopian imaginary. An inclusive school is not just a regular school, only with children with disabilities in it. An inclusive school is a school in which the notions of citizenship, democracy and participation are radically expanded. It is a school in which the built environment, the curriculum, the teaching and the social relations challenge the limits of what children can achieve, therefore of what society can be.

It is often said that having children with disabilities can politicise you. For our part, I can say being able to work with and support the inclusive local school that our children attend has been a lesson in utopia-building. It has been our concrete playground, a place where to realise forms of participation and belonging that we didn’t know existed.

The problem, of course, is not just how to protect our little island, or how to replicate its experience elsewhere, but also how to prepare ourselves and our children for what comes after: that is to say, the transition to a society that has stopped aspiring to the most elementary principles of equality, security, participation and inclusion. Yet in this respect, too, the utopian school comes to our aid: for it sharpens the demand, and arms us with the knowledge that an alternative is both necessary and possible. "
giovannitiso  schools  utopia  education  inclusivity  2016  socialism  citizenship  civics  democracy  participation  curriculum  teaching  howweteach  future  society  children  equality  security  inclusion  segregation  self-advocacy  disability  disabilities 
august 2016 by robertogreco
The missing link in the War on Poverty | Feature | Chicago Reader
"The national poverty rate declined markedly in the War on Poverty's early years, from 19 percent in 1964 to 11 percent in 1973. Then it flattened, and it has slowly risen since, to 15 percent by 2010. The leading beneficiaries of the programs spawned by the war were the elderly, with the creation of Medicare in 1965 keeping many out of poverty. Poverty among seniors has declined from 28.5 percent in 1966 to 9.1 percent in 2012.

Poor blacks in those "central areas" have not made similar gains. In Chicago in 1960, 29.7 percent of nonwhite families were living in poverty; as of 2007-2011, 27.4 percent of black Chicago families were in poverty. (Among white families in Chicago, the current poverty rate is 5.3 percent.)

The lack of success in eradicating urban poverty isn't surprising. The effort in cities never was well funded.

But as Harrington had pointed out, the poverty problem was not only deprivation but also separation. That separation was especially pronounced in cities, where the concentration of poverty meant children were growing up amid violence and joblessness, with few positive role models. War on Poverty programs tried to treat the deprivation without addressing the separation.

Politically, this was understandable. LBJ and other government leaders knew that Americans were more interested in helping the poor than living near them.

It took years of unremitting effort—and, ultimately, Johnson's consummate legislative skill—to finally pass, in 1964, a Civil Rights measure ending segregation by law, as it had existed in the south. But de facto segregation in the north proved an unbeatable foe. A Fair Housing Act finally passed in 1968, in the wake of the rioting that followed Martin Luther King's assassination, but it had been stripped of key enforcement provisions, and did little to reduce segregation. And so the isolation of poor minorities, blacks in particular, continued in Chicago—and in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, Boston, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Cleveland, and other cities. And it continues still today."



"Even without the fiasco in Woodlawn, however, the War on Poverty was ill-fated in Chicago, as in other cities, because of the unwillingness to address racial segregation. Government officials had aided and abetted that segregation for decades—with restrictive covenants that forbade property owners from renting or selling to blacks, urban renewal programs that further isolated minorities, public housing confined to ghettos, and vast expenditures on highways and infrastructure that promoted sprawl and white flight. When officials surveyed the damage done to the poor by segregation, though, they maintained that government could do nothing to improve things because segregation was merely the result of personal choices.

The "community action" model of the war's first few years was soon replaced with Model Cities—a similar effort, except mayors were granted more control. Later there were Community Development Block Grants, and Urban Development Action Grants, and Enterprise Zones.

The theory behind these efforts has been that economic development of poor neighborhoods will create jobs in those communities, which will lift residents out of poverty. But even with tax breaks and other government incentives, businesses tend not to thrive in poor, high-crime areas. Residents who do find work usually find it elsewhere, and are eager to move to safer neighborhoods as soon as they're able.

In 1994, 30 years into the War on Poverty, Lemann wrote in the New York Times: "For three decades, Administration after Administration has pondered the ghettos and then settled on the idea of trying to revitalize them economically—even though there is almost no evidence that this can work."

The community development programs neatly avoided "what is perhaps the most perilous of all issues for elected officials—racial integration," Lemann observed. Advocates of integration maintain that community development efforts need to be combined with efforts to deconcentrate urban poverty. In metro Chicago, this would mean public officials taking steps to ensure that affordable housing is available not only throughout Chicago but throughout its suburbs; that fair housing laws are enforced; and that supportive programs are offered to residents of poor neighborhoods who are interested in moving.

But political leaders have continued to avoid even talking about segregation in the years since. In Chicago's last mayoral election, in 2011, none of the candidates offered a plan for addressing segregation. When I asked Rahm Emanuel during the campaign if he had any ideas for countering segregation, he responded with the standard community development ideas: "Safe streets, strong schools, and good-paying jobs throughout the city with the goal of lifting all neighborhoods up."

It's not as if segregation has gone away in Chicago since the War on Poverty started. The African-American population has thinned, but it's still largely isolated. In 1960, 69 percent of the city's black residents lived in community areas on the south and west sides whose total population was 94 percent black; today, 63 percent of Chicago's African-Americans live in community areas whose total population is 95 percent black. These neighborhoods have the city's highest rates of poverty, as well as the violence, unemployment, and failing schools that characterize neighborhoods where poverty is concentrated. The city's public school enrollment is 86 percent Hispanic and African-American and 85 percent low-income.

Though other presidents have steered clear of the topic of de facto segregation, Johnson spoke about it. "The great majority of Negro Americans . . . still, as we meet here tonight, are another nation," he said in a commencement address at Howard University in 1965. "Despite the court orders and the laws, despite the legislative victories and the speeches, for them, the walls are rising and the gulf is widening."

"Men are shaped by their world," Johnson continued. "When it is a world of decay, ringed by an invisible wall . . . it can cripple the youth and it can desolate the men."

President Obama lately has been speaking more forcefully about "economic inequality," and even at times about poverty, a word he studiously avoided in his first term. But might he ever talk about the role of segregation? That's probably too much to expect.

Obama said last week about the War on Poverty: "We are a country that keeps the promises we've made. And in a 21st century economy, we will make sure that as America grows stronger, this recovery leaves no one behind. Because for all that has changed in the 50 years since President Johnson dedicated us to this economic and moral mission, one constant of our character has not: we are one nation and one people, and we rise or fall together."

That, however, simply hasn't been true. Segregation continues to neatly sever the fates of residents of Winnetka and Lake Forest from those in Englewood and North Lawndale. And as long as it persists in metro areas, the rich will be able to continue to rise as the poor continue to founder."
waronpoverty  poverty  us  segregation  history  chicago  richarddaley  lyndonjohnson  1964  michaelharrington  theotheramerica  desegregation  class  cities  lbj 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The Common Core Costs Billions and Hurts Students - The New York Times
"FOR 15 years, since the passage of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind act, education reformers have promoted standardized testing, school choice, competition and accountability (meaning punishment of teachers and schools) as the primary means of improving education. For many years, I agreed with them. I was an assistant secretary of education in George H. W. Bush’s administration and a member of three conservative think tanks.

But as I watched the harmful effects of No Child Left Behind, I began to have doubts. The law required that all schools reach 100 percent proficiency as measured by state tests or face harsh punishments. This was an impossible goal. Standardized tests became the be-all and end-all of education, and states spent billions on them. Social scientists have long known that the best predictor of test scores is family income. Yet policy makers encouraged the firing of thousands of teachers and the closing of thousands of low-scoring public schools, mostly in poor black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

As the damage escalated, I renounced my support for high-stakes testing and charter schools. Nonetheless, I clung to the hope that we might agree on national standards and a national curriculum. Surely, I thought, they would promote equity since all children would study the same things and take the same tests. But now I realize that I was wrong about that, too.

Six years after the release of our first national standards, the Common Core, and the new federal tests that accompanied them, it seems clear that the pursuit of a national curriculum is yet another excuse to avoid making serious efforts to reduce the main causes of low student achievement: poverty and racial segregation.

The people who wrote the Common Core standards sold them as a way to improve achievement and reduce the gaps between rich and poor, and black and white. But the promises haven’t come true. Even in states with strong common standards and tests, racial achievement gaps persist. Last year, average math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress declined for the first time since 1990; reading scores were flat or decreased compared with a decade earlier.

The development of the Common Core was funded almost entirely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was a rush job, and the final product ignored the needs of children with disabilities, English-language learners and those in the early grades. It’s no surprise that there has been widespread pushback.

In 2009 President Obama announced Race to the Top, a competition for $4.35 billion in federal grant money. To qualify, states had to adopt “college and career ready standards,” a requirement that was used to pressure them into adopting national standards. Almost every state applied, even before the specifics of the Common Core were released in June 2010.

The federal government, states and school districts have spent billions of dollars to phase in the standards, to prepare students to take the tests and to buy the technology needed to administer them online. There is nothing to show for it. The Race to the Top demoralized teachers, caused teacher shortages and led to the defunding of the arts and other subjects that were not tested. Those billions would have been better spent to reduce class sizes, especially in struggling schools, to restore arts and physical education classes, to rebuild physically crumbling schools, and to provide universal early childhood education.

Children starting in the third grade may spend more than 10 hours a year taking state tests — and weeks preparing for them. Studies show that students perform better on written tests than on online tests, yet most schools across the nation are assessing their students online, at enormous costs, because that is how the Common Core tests are usually delivered. Computer glitches are common. Sometimes the server gets overloaded and breaks down. Entire states, like Alaska, have canceled tests because of technical problems. More than 30 states have reported computer testing problems since 2013, according to FairTest, a testing watchdog.

Standardized tests are best at measuring family income. Well-off students usually score in the top half of results; students from poor homes usually score in the bottom. The quest to “close achievement gaps” is vain indeed when the measure of achievement is a test based on a statistical norm. If we awarded driver’s licenses based on standardized tests, half the adults in this country might never receive one. The failure rates on the Common Core tests are staggeringly high for black and Hispanic children, students with disabilities and English-language learners. Making the tests harder predictably depresses test scores, creating a sense of failure and hopelessness among young children.

If we really cared about improving the education of all students, we would give teachers the autonomy to tailor instruction to meet the needs of the children in front of them and to write their own tests. We would insist that students in every school had an equal opportunity to learn in well-maintained schools, in classes of reasonable size taught by expert teachers. Anyone who wants to know how students in one state compare with students in other states can get that information from the N.A.E.P., the existing federal test.

What is called “the achievement gap” is actually an “opportunity gap.” What we need are schools where all children have the same chance to learn. That doesn’t require national standards or national tests, which improve neither teaching nor learning, and do nothing to help poor children at racially segregated schools. We need to focus on that, not on promoting failed ideas."
2016  dianeravitch  commoncore  standardization  standardizedtesting  testing  government  us  nclb  rttt  georgehwbush  gatesfoundation  billgates  standards  education  schools  publischools  poverty  inequality  segregation  naep  statistics  achievementgap  opportunitygap  politics  policy 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City - The New York Times
"Integration was transformative for my husband and me. Yet the idea of placing our daughter in one of the small number of integrated schools troubled me. These schools are disproportionately white and serve the middle and upper middle classes, with a smattering of poor black and Latino students to create “diversity.”

In a city where white children are only 15 percent of the more than one million public-school students, half of them are clustered in just 11 percent of the schools, which not coincidentally include many of the city’s top performers. Part of what makes those schools desirable to white parents, aside from the academics, is that they have some students of color, but not too many. This carefully curated integration, the kind that allows many white parents to boast that their children’s public schools look like the United Nations, comes at a steep cost for the rest of the city’s black and Latino children."



"It was hard not to be skeptical about the department’s plan. New York, like many deeply segregated cities, has a terrible track record of maintaining racial balance in formerly underenrolled segregated schools once white families come in. Schools like P.S. 321 in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood and the Academy of Arts and Letters in Fort Greene tend to go through a brief period of transitional integration, in which significant numbers of white students enroll, and then the numbers of Latino and black students dwindle. In fact, that’s exactly what happened at P.S. 8.

A decade ago, P.S. 8 was P.S. 307’s mirror image. Predominantly filled with low-income black and Latino students from surrounding neighborhoods, P.S. 8, with its low test scores and low enrollment, languished amid a community of affluence because white parents in the neighborhood refused to send their children there. A group of parents worked hard with school administrators to turn the school around, writing grants to start programs for art and other enrichment activities. Then more white and Asian parents started to enroll their children. One of them was David Goldsmith, who later became president of the community education council tasked with considering the rezoning of P.S. 8 and P.S. 307. Goldsmith is white and, at the time, lived in Vinegar Hill with his Filipino wife and their daughter.

As P.S. 8 improved, more and more white families from Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo and Vinegar Hill enrolled their children, and the classrooms in the lower grades became majority white. The whitening of the school had unintended consequences. Some of the black and Latino parents whose children had been in the school from the beginning felt as if they were being marginalized. The white parents were able to raise large sums at fund-raisers and could be dismissive of the much smaller fund-raising efforts that had come before. Then, Goldsmith says, the new parents started seeking to separate their children from their poorer classmates. “There were kids in the school that were really high-risk kids, kids who were homeless, living in temporary shelters, you know, poverty can be really brutal,” Goldsmith says. “The school was really committed to helping all children, but we had white middle-class parents saying, ‘I don’t want my child in the same class with the kid who has emotional issues.’ ”

The parents who had helped build P.S. 8, black, Latino, white and Asian, feared they were losing something important, a truly diverse school that nurtured its neediest students, where families held equal value no matter the size of their paychecks. They asked for a plan to help the school maintain its black and Latino population by setting aside a percentage of seats for low-income children, but they didn’t get approval.

P.S. 8’s transformation to a school where only one in four students are black or Latino and only 14 percent are low-income began during the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, known for its indifference toward efforts to integrate schools. But integration advocates say that they’ve also been deeply disappointed by the de Blasio administration’s stance on the issue. In October 2014, after the release of the U.C.L.A. study pointing to the extreme segregation in the city’s schools, and nearly a year after de Blasio was elected, Councilmen Ritchie Torres and Brad Lander moved to force the administration to address segregation, introducing what became the School Diversity Accountability Act, which would require the Department of Education to release school-segregation figures and report what it was doing to alleviate the problem. “It was always right in front of our faces,” says Lander, a representative from Brooklyn, whose own children attend heavily white public schools. “Then the U.C.L.A. report hit, and the segregation in the city became urgent.”"
education  nyc  race  racism  us  brooklyn  segregation  desegregation  resegregation  schools  publicschools  policy  power  diversity  parenting  children  gentrification  nikolehannah-jones 
july 2016 by robertogreco
I Can Tolerate Anything Except The Outgroup | Slate Star Codex
[via: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/jacobs/the-outgroup-and-its-errors/ ]

"One day I realized that entirely by accident I was fulfilling all the Jewish stereotypes.

I’m nerdy, over-educated, good with words, good with money, weird sense of humor, don’t get outside much, I like deli sandwiches. And I’m a psychiatrist, which is about the most stereotypically Jewish profession short of maybe stand-up comedian or rabbi.

I’m not very religious. And I don’t go to synagogue. But that’s stereotypically Jewish too!

I bring this up because it would be a mistake to think “Well, a Jewish person is by definition someone who is born of a Jewish mother. Or I guess it sort of also means someone who follows the Mosaic Law and goes to synagogue. But I don’t care about Scott’s mother, and I know he doesn’t go to synagogue, so I can’t gain any useful information from knowing Scott is Jewish.”

The defining factors of Judaism – Torah-reading, synagogue-following, mother-having – are the tip of a giant iceberg. Jews sometimes identify as a “tribe”, and even if you don’t attend synagogue, you’re still a member of that tribe and people can still (in a statistical way) infer things about you by knowing your Jewish identity – like how likely they are to be psychiatrists.

The last section raised a question – if people rarely select their friends and associates and customers explicitly for politics, how do we end up with such intense political segregation?

Well, in the same way “going to synagogue” is merely the iceberg-tip of a Jewish tribe with many distinguishing characteristics, so “voting Republican” or “identifying as conservative” or “believing in creationism” is the iceberg-tip of a conservative tribe with many distinguishing characteristics.

A disproportionate number of my friends are Jewish, because I meet them at psychiatry conferences or something – we self-segregate not based on explicit religion but on implicit tribal characteristics. So in the same way, political tribes self-segregate to an impressive extent – a 1/10^45 extent, I will never tire of hammering in – based on their implicit tribal characteristics.

The people who are actually into this sort of thing sketch out a bunch of speculative tribes and subtribes, but to make it easier, let me stick with two and a half.

The Red Tribe is most classically typified by conservative political beliefs, strong evangelical religious beliefs, creationism, opposing gay marriage, owning guns, eating steak, drinking Coca-Cola, driving SUVs, watching lots of TV, enjoying American football, getting conspicuously upset about terrorists and commies, marrying early, divorcing early, shouting “USA IS NUMBER ONE!!!”, and listening to country music.

The Blue Tribe is most classically typified by liberal political beliefs, vague agnosticism, supporting gay rights, thinking guns are barbaric, eating arugula, drinking fancy bottled water, driving Priuses, reading lots of books, being highly educated, mocking American football, feeling vaguely like they should like soccer but never really being able to get into it, getting conspicuously upset about sexists and bigots, marrying later, constantly pointing out how much more civilized European countries are than America, and listening to “everything except country”.

(There is a partly-formed attempt to spin off a Grey Tribe typified by libertarian political beliefs, Dawkins-style atheism, vague annoyance that the question of gay rights even comes up, eating paleo, drinking Soylent, calling in rides on Uber, reading lots of blogs, calling American football “sportsball”, getting conspicuously upset about the War on Drugs and the NSA, and listening to filk – but for our current purposes this is a distraction and they can safely be considered part of the Blue Tribe most of the time)

I think these “tribes” will turn out to be even stronger categories than politics. Harvard might skew 80-20 in terms of Democrats vs. Republicans, 90-10 in terms of liberals vs. conservatives, but maybe 99-1 in terms of Blues vs. Reds.

It’s the many, many differences between these tribes that explain the strength of the filter bubble – which have I mentioned segregates people at a strength of 1/10^45? Even in something as seemingly politically uncharged as going to California Pizza Kitchen or Sushi House for dinner, I’m restricting myself to the set of people who like cute artisanal pizzas or sophisticated foreign foods, which are classically Blue Tribe characteristics.

Are these tribes based on geography? Are they based on race, ethnic origin, religion, IQ, what TV channels you watched as a kid? I don’t know.

Some of it is certainly genetic – estimates of the genetic contribution to political association range from 0.4 to 0.6. Heritability of one’s attitudes toward gay rights range from 0.3 to 0.5, which hilariously is a little more heritable than homosexuality itself.

(for an interesting attempt to break these down into more rigorous concepts like “traditionalism”, “authoritarianism”, and “in-group favoritism” and find the genetic loading for each see here. For an attempt to trace the specific genes involved, which mostly turn out to be NMDA receptors, see here)

But I don’t think it’s just genetics. There’s something else going on too. The word “class” seems like the closest analogue, but only if you use it in the sophisticated Paul Fussell Guide Through the American Status System way instead of the boring “another word for how much money you make” way.

For now we can just accept them as a brute fact – as multiple coexisting societies that might as well be made of dark matter for all of the interaction they have with one another – and move on."



"Every election cycle like clockwork, conservatives accuse liberals of not being sufficiently pro-America. And every election cycle like clockwork, liberals give extremely unconvincing denials of this.

“It’s not that we’re, like, against America per se. It’s just that…well, did you know Europe has much better health care than we do? And much lower crime rates? I mean, come on, how did they get so awesome? And we’re just sitting here, can’t even get the gay marriage thing sorted out, seriously, what’s wrong with a country that can’t…sorry, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, America. They’re okay. Cesar Chavez was really neat. So were some other people outside the mainstream who became famous precisely by criticizing majority society. That’s sort of like America being great, in that I think the parts of it that point out how bad the rest of it are often make excellent points. Vote for me!”

(sorry, I make fun of you because I love you)

There was a big brouhaha a couple of years ago when, as it first became apparent Obama had a good shot at the Presidency, Michelle Obama said that “for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country.”

Republicans pounced on the comment, asking why she hadn’t felt proud before, and she backtracked saying of course she was proud all the time and she loves America with the burning fury of a million suns and she was just saying that the Obama campaign was particularly inspiring.

As unconvincing denials go, this one was pretty far up there. But no one really held it against her. Probably most Obama voters felt vaguely the same way. I was an Obama voter, and I have proud memories of spending my Fourth of Julys as a kid debunking people’s heartfelt emotions of patriotism. Aaron Sorkin:
[What makes America the greatest country in the world?] It’s not the greatest country in the world! We’re seventh in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, No. 4 in labor force, and No. 4 in exports. So when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the f*** you’re talking about.

(Another good retort is “We’re number one? Sure – number one in incarceration rates, drone strikes, and making new parents go back to work!”)

All of this is true, of course. But it’s weird that it’s such a classic interest of members of the Blue Tribe, and members of the Red Tribe never seem to bring it up.

(“We’re number one? Sure – number one in levels of sexual degeneracy! Well, I guess probably number two, after the Netherlands, but they’re really small and shouldn’t count.”)

My hunch – both the Red Tribe and the Blue Tribe, for whatever reason, identify “America” with the Red Tribe. Ask people for typically “American” things, and you end up with a very Red list of characteristics – guns, religion, barbecues, American football, NASCAR, cowboys, SUVs, unrestrained capitalism.

That means the Red Tribe feels intensely patriotic about “their” country, and the Blue Tribe feels like they’re living in fortified enclaves deep in hostile territory.

Here is a popular piece published on a major media site called America: A Big, Fat, Stupid Nation. Another: America: A Bunch Of Spoiled, Whiny Brats. Americans are ignorant, scientifically illiterate religious fanatics whose “patriotism” is actually just narcissism. You Will Be Shocked At How Ignorant Americans Are, and we should Blame The Childish, Ignorant American People.

Needless to say, every single one of these articles was written by an American and read almost entirely by Americans. Those Americans very likely enjoyed the articles very much and did not feel the least bit insulted.

And look at the sources. HuffPo, Salon, Slate. Might those have anything in common?

On both sides, “American” can be either a normal demonym, or a code word for a member of the Red Tribe."



"This essay is bad and I should feel bad.

I should feel bad because I made exactly the mistake I am trying to warn everyone else about, and it wasn’t until I was almost done that I noticed.

How virtuous, how noble I … [more]
politics  psychology  society  tolerance  scottalexander  partisanship  bias  favoritism  filterbubbles  segregation  darkmatter  tribes  subtribes  polarization  patriotism 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Facebook Wants to Redline Your Friends List - Pacific Standard
"The company recently filed a patent on using social network data to influence lending decisions. God help us all."



"Returning to an era where the demographics of your community determined your credit-worthiness should be illegal."
susiecagle  2015  facebook  redlining  debt  socialnetworks  segregation  demographics 
december 2015 by robertogreco
I'm Not Racist, But My Kid's Not Going There [On Segregation] | The Jose Vilson
"It starts the same.

“I heard what you’re saying about integration and everything, and I agree with you in general …”

“Yes?”

“And I hear you on fighting for all schools and not just mine …”

“Mmmhmmm.”

“And I’m not racist, but I don’t want to take my kids out of a well-resourced school so they can go to a school with gang violence.”

“Excuse me, what?”

“I don’t mean …”

Yes, you did.

If you’ve read any reporting from New York Times’ Kate Taylor in the last few months, any discussion around school segregation and integration in New York City has a “but I’m not racist” in it. Racism isn’t merely a set of feelings one has towards another, but also the systematic ways we view schools where the students predominantly attending are black.

Our school system, as a function of our country, moves with the best interest of rich white folks. Despite some pundits’ willful ignorance about education history, the real first opt-out movement was when droves of middle to upper class white people created private schools to avoid desegregation court orders. Segregation was always the ostensible representation of inequity, and its dismantling puts schools at odds with American laws, systems, and values. All too often, asking for any level of equity has been met with violence from firings of entire staff to the torching of bodies and buildings, all because some folks got used to black people not reading.

In New York City, the concurrent battles against Success Academy charters and rezoning / integration speak to the idea that, ultimately, the education of people of color in this country is seen as a matter of compliance, bias, and oppression. Re-segregated schools in our country haven’t worked to a large extent as the great equalizer, even when its promise has come close in a couple of spots in an otherwise sordid history. Policymakers and activists alike continue to shut out the very folks in need of the most help, preferring to create mascots and figureheads.

And the minute an under-the-radar school decides to shift the focus to the black students it serves, our officials try (and fail) to convince a neighboring white school that it’s worth their kids.

While some parents don’t want to be part of a social experiment that has children of different races sitting in the same classrooms (all while quoting Martin Luther King Jr.), the same parents rarely advocate to get better schools for others either. That difference in resources (i.e. segregation) makes some parents feel special, as if their child is getting a relatively better education, because education is relative to the receiver. Legs ups (i.e. segregation) thrive in communities like this because people of color getting a substandard education sets the bar low enough for our country to exploit.

The tale of two schools begins and ends with a white school and a black school, and, no matter if the schools are equal by any measure that our society deems credible, one will always be different from the other. Segregation.

Integration isn’t just a strategy for equity, but also an anti-racist strategy that suggests that we are all responsible for the legacies we leave all of our children. So, when people say “I’m not racist but,” I am inclined to ignore anything prior to “but”. I prefer they honestly tell me they can’t stand their child in the same classroom with someone who they’ve already predisposed for vermin-like treatment. I’m not inclined to keep my mouth shut. I’m not predisposed to folks mistreating my students. I truly believe in an education that’s inclusive, equitable, and responsive to the students most in need.

Without that common understanding, mass education movements will fail. And you can keep your racist notions in the purses you clutch when I speak."
josévilson  racism  schools  education  inequality  segregation  2015  parents  parenting  resegregation 
november 2015 by robertogreco
'No School in the Country Has Ever Done it'
[See also:
“Latino School Segregation: The Big Education Problem That No One Is Talking About”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/latino-school-segregation_561d70a5e4b050c6c4a34118 ]

"Mario Koran: Based on your research, what impact does neighborhood schooling tend to have on school districts’ integration efforts?

Gary Orfield: When you have neighborhood schools in a city that has unequal and segregated neighborhoods, Latino and black kids end up in schools that are segregated by race and poverty and sometimes by language, and tend to perform much worse.

And white and Asian kids tend to end up in middle-class schools with a majority of middle-class kids, and more experienced teachers and stronger curriculum, higher level of competition. So it just perpetuates the inequality.

If we had fair neighborhoods, it would be OK. But we don’t. It’s why we did the desegregation efforts in the first place.

Now, if you have a choice plan that doesn’t have basic civil rights requirements attached to it, it can make segregation worse. We did a book called “Educational Delusions?” about choice plans that can make things worse, and how you can make them better.

Basically, a fair choice plan has a certain number of elements, and it expands opportunity and integration. And those include free transportation. They include good choices. They include fair parent information and a fair method of selecting the kids, and active recruitment of the kids from all parts of the community.

Free transportation is essential. Otherwise you’re just giving choice on the basis of social class.

The book included case studies of numerous places, including some places that have figured out modern ways to integrate, including Louisville and Berkeley.

(Note: Under the current system, if San Diego Unified parents want to send their kids to a school outside their neighborhood, they can submit a choice application. But offers are limited to available space, and in most cases transportation falls on parents.)

Mario Koran: What city in the country do you think has figured it out the best?

Gary Orfield: Well, Berkeley’s worth looking at. Louisville. There are regional magnet schools in Connecticut that we’ve worked with quite a lot.

Nobody’s got the whole thing together because basically there has been no pressure to do anything about this since the Reagan years.

Mario Koran: Why is that? What’s been the biggest stumbling blocks holding school districts back?

Gary Orfield: The biggest stumbling block, in many ways, was the United States Supreme Court, which has had an anti-civil rights majority now for over a quarter-century and has dismantled most of the desegregation plans in the country.

The former chief justice who was appointed by Ronald Reagan, William Rehnquist, was opposed the [Brown v. Board of Education] decision as a clerk in the Supreme Court during the Brown case. He never voted for a school desegregation case ever.

The Supreme Court has pushed us backward in this area. It’s no accident that we’re where we are now. California used to have requirements that went beyond the federal requirements. There was a prop passed, called Prop. 1 in the 1980s, that weakened California’s desegregation requirements.

The major funding source for desegregation was eliminated in Ronald Reagan’s first budget.

Mario Koran: What was the funding source?

Gary Orfield: It was called the Emergency School Aid Act. It was the federal desegregation assistance money. It had hundreds of millions of dollars. It was all voluntary, and school districts loved it. It funded the creation of a lot of magnet schools in the country.

Mario Koran: I’ve noticed that we all tend to say that we like and value diversity, but when it comes to actually integrating schools, it can sort of feel uncomfortable, right?

Gary Orfield: It is uncomfortable! There’s no comfortable way to get out of a racial catastrophe. But it works. And people appreciate it when it’s done well.

Desegregation done the right way is a win-win. It’s not taking something from somebody and giving it to somebody else. It’s expanding the opportunity and preparation of everybody. It’s not a miracle. It’s not a cure-all. It’s just a whole lot better than segregation.

We did surveys of the parents and students at Louisville that are in the book, and they’ve had desegregation in almost all their schools, city and suburb now for 45 years. And they voted to keep it. And when the Supreme Court knocked down their old plan, they came up with a new one to keep it.

I don’t know if you read our Resegregating California study, but California is the worst place in the country for Latino students in terms of isolation by ethnicity and they are in extremely impoverished schools on average.

Mario Koran: That’s interesting, because now we have a problem with segregating Latinos, but it’s a new challenge because Latinos make up the largest subgroup in California. So how does that change the integration dynamic?

Gary Orfield: It means that we have a much more complex reality. Most of the black students in California are now in schools which on average have twice as many Latinos as blacks. So black students are actually isolated within the schools of another disadvantaged minority group – or a majority group – with Latinos becoming majority group. So it’s more complicated.

We have four major races in California. If you combine the African-Americans and Latinos and compare them with the whites and Asians, they are different worlds of educational opportunity. Whites and Asians are 10 times as likely to be in the top quintile of high schools in California.

Mario Koran: In your mind, what’s the single strongest piece of evidence that we can point to to say that integration works?

Gary Orfield: For the Supreme Court Parents Involved decision, we did a summary of a half-century of research on school desegregation. And did a brief that was signed by 553 researchers from all over the United States, and basically what the research shows – and the research was checked by a group of about 120 of the leading scholars in the United States – basically that if you go to an integrated school, you get a better set of opportunities, you get connected with different networks, you have a better chance of graduating, you have a better chance of going to college, you have a better chance of completing college, you have a better chance of being employed in a diverse labor force as an adult, you’re more likely to live and work in a diverse setting.

The test scores results are significant, but they are not the major result. The major results are life chances.

Including – what nobody talks about – for the white students, who are now a small minority in Southern California. They learn how to function effectively in a diverse setting, which they badly need, because they’re going to be a smaller and smaller minority in the future of Southern California. They’re less than a quarter of the students between Los Angeles and the border.

You can’t really learn how to function very effectively in a diverse, multiracial culture in segregated neighborhoods, with segregated schools.

Again, desegregation is not a miracle. There are no miracles. You know educational research. Every time somebody claims one you have to dig into the data because it’s almost always funny.

And neighborhood schools, most school districts went that way 20 years ago, 25 years ago when the federal desegregation orders were eliminated. They went toward neighborhood schools and unfair choice plans.

Both of those produce self-perpetuating inequalities for black and Latino students.

You can’t get ready for UC in a school that doesn’t have good college preparation courses taught at the appropriate level, in classes with students who are ready to learn something.

Mario Koran: What constitutes a good choice plan?

Gary Orfield: The basic argument is we knew how not to do choice a long time ago. Fifty years ago. And we learned lessons in the 1970s about how to do magnet schools the right way. And then when the courts stopped looking, we forgot all of those things. And the result of that is schools are becoming more and more unequal.

We just did a study in Buffalo, N.Y. in response to a civil rights complaint to the Office of Civil Rights about the unfairness of the choice plan there.

We found that in a place that used to have one of the best magnet school plans in the country and was highly integrated, has changed. The system has declined, the quality has declined, but the unfairness has just mushroomed. The very best schools get very few students from the segregated neighborhoods.

Right now there’s a major controversy between the Office of Civil Rights and the Buffalo school board, whether they’re going to implement all of the recommendations they made on how to correct this. If you look at the recommendations, you can see the kinds of things that need to be paid attention to.

Mario Koran: So it doesn’t sound like you’re convinced about neighborhood schools …

Gary Orfield: I can’t tell you how many hundreds of places I’ve been to or that have sent to me a beautiful glossy plan that says, “We know how to make segregated schools equal.” It’s usually called “The Plan for Excellence,“ or “The Intense Focus Plan” or something. It’s a different name in every town.

Everybody says they know how to do it. Everybody says they know how to make segregated schools equal. No school district in the country has ever done it, to the best of my knowledge.

Now I’ve been asking for people to tell me one example, and nobody has been able to come up with that example. Even the people who testify against integration all over the county. Just tell me one place where segregation has worked.

You can’t find any. You can find individual schools where they score very well on certain standardized tests, but that’s rare and it often doesn’t last. But you can’t find schools … [more]
sandiego  sdusd  mariokoran  2015  schools  education  neighborhoodschools  segregation  race  ethnicity  california  history  civilrights  desegregation  diversity  schoolchoice  magnetschools  inequality  emergencyschoolaidact  ronaldreagan  williamrehnquist  scotus  berkeley  louisville  resegregation  garyorfield  buffalo  supremecourt  us  connecticut 
november 2015 by robertogreco
The Architecture of Segregation - The New York Times
"Fifty years after the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development — and nearly that long after the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 — the fight against the interlinked scourges of housing discrimination and racial segregation in America is far from finished. Economic isolation is actually growing worse across the country, as more and more minority families find themselves trapped in high-poverty neighborhoods without decent housing, schools or jobs, and with few avenues of escape.

This did not happen by accident. It is a direct consequence of federal, state and local housing policies that encourage — indeed, subsidize — racial and economic segregation. Fair housing advocates have recently been encouraged by a Supreme Court decision and new federal rules they see as favorable to their cause. Even so, there will be no fundamental change without the dismantling of policies that isolate the poor and that Paul Jargowsky, a professor of public policy at Rutgers University-Camden, and others call the “architecture of segregation.”

As things stand now, federally subsidized housing for low-income citizens, which seems on its face to be a good thing, is disproportionately built in poor areas offering no work, underperforming schools and limited opportunity. Zoning laws in newer suburbs that rest on and benefit from infrastructure built with public subsidies prevent poor, moderate-income and minority families from moving in. Discriminatory practices exclude even higher income minority citizens from some communities.

The economic expansion of the 1990s brought wage increases and low unemployment, diluting poverty and cutting the number of people living in high-poverty neighborhoods by about 25 percent. Many policy experts believed at the time that the era of urban decay was coming to an end. But as Mr. Jargowsky observes, that’s not how things worked out. In a new analysis of census data, he finds that the number of people living in high-poverty slums, where 40 percent or more of the residents live below the poverty level, has nearly doubled since 2000.

Meanwhile, he writes, poverty has become more concentrated: More than one in four of the black poor, nearly one in six of the Hispanic poor and one in 13 of the white poor now live in a neighborhood of extreme poverty. Impoverished families are thus doubly disadvantaged — by poverty itself and by life in areas ravaged by the social problems that flow from it.

The Fair Housing Act was supposed to overcome these problems. But presidents in both parties declined to enforce it vigorously, and governments at all levels simply ignored it. No one knows that story better than former Vice President Walter Mondale, a co-sponsor of the act, who spoke eloquently at a fair housing conference at HUD on Tuesday.

“When high-income black families cannot qualify for a prime loan and are steered away from white suburbs, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled,” he said. “When the federal and state governments will pay to build new suburban highways, streets, sewers, schools and parks, but then allow these communities to exclude affordable housing and nonwhite citizens, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled. When we build most new subsidized housing in poor black or Latino neighborhoods, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled.”

Among the recent positive moves, in a June ruling the Supreme Court reminded state and local governments that housing discrimination is illegal even when unintentional and that the Fair Housing Act bars them from spending federal money in a manner that perpetuates segregation.

The following month, HUD ended decades of equivocation by issuing new rules under a provision of the act that requires state and local governments to “affirmatively further” fair housing goals by making legitimate efforts to replace “segregated living patterns with truly integrated and balanced living patterns.”

These actions, plus growing concern over racial isolation in places like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, have inspired hope among fair housing advocates. But given the high social costs of entrenched segregation, governments at all levels must do far more."

[via: https://twitter.com/quilian/status/640508410325282816 ]
poverty  racism  realestate  zoning  us  segregation  discrimination  hud  housing  cities  urban  pauljargowsky  urbanplanning  fairhousingact  ferguson  baltimore  race  economics  politics 
september 2015 by robertogreco
High-income Americans are more segregated than ever | Stanford Graduate School of Education
"“If advantaged families do not share social environments and public institutions with low‐income families, they may be less likely to support investment in these shared resources. Such a shift in collective commitment to the public good may have far‐reaching consequences for social inequality,” said Reardon."
inequality  seanreardon  kendrabischoff  segregation  2015  us  civics  socialgood  publicgood  incomeinequality 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Apple’s Modernism, Google’s Modernism: Some reflections on Alphabet, Inc. and a suggestion that modernist architect Adolf Loos would be totally into Soylent | Works Cited
"These temporal aesthetics, Google’s included, tell us something about the repurposing of modernist style for post-Fordist capital. Modernist style still succeeds in evoking newnesses even when wholly “unoriginal” because it so successfully dehistoricizes.20) That it still totally works, and that it remains congenial to capital in the face of capital’s transformations, hints that we have in modernist ideology a powerful actor.

Consequently, the study of early twentieth-century style can be understood as neither irrelevant nor innocent. The quasi-Darwinian, developmentalist ideologies of Silicon Valley have their correlates in styles that disguise their basic violence as design. Its results are, among other things, political transformations of the Bay Area that seek to do to San Francisco what Rob Rinehart did to his apartment—rely heavily on exploited labor that has been geographically displaced. It imagines people of the future living side by side with people who lag behind—but not literally side by side of course! because the laggards commute from Vallejo. Anyone who isn’t on board with the spatial segregation of the temporally disparate is an “enemy of innovation.” Again, this is actually less about time than about hierarchy. After all, the temporal difference between any two people in existence at the same time is completely made up: it’s an effect of style, which is in turn (if we follow Loos’s logic) a proxy for economic dominance. Time is, so to speak, money."
modernism  nataliacecire  2015  apple  google  siliconvalley  design  economics  atemporality  robrinehart  adolfloos  childhood  primitivism  developmentalism  aphabet  puerility  naomischor  siannengai  power  systemsthinking  displacement  innovation  ideology  californianideology  history  newness  exploitation  labor  segregation  hierarchy  technology  technosolutionism  domination 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Bridging the gap: Visiting integrated schools in Northern Ireland (Learning World: S5E27, 3/3) - YouTube
"Since the peace agreement of 1998, the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland is a peaceful place. However, only 5% of children visit so-called integrated schools, where Catholic and Protestant students study alongside and are not afraid to discuss sensitive subjects of a divided society. In Northern Ireland, there are now 62 integrated schools, primary and secondary, with nearly 22,000 students.

Watch more stories about "crossing borders" to get an education: In Transnistria, students take a risky route every day to go to Moldava, where they are taught: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FGRmoFlVok

In Mexico, some students from poor backgrounds profit from an education agreement which allows them to go to school in the US. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP39Jqaz-ew "
borders  education  northernireland  moldava  elpaso  mexico  us  transnistria  2015  integration  segregation  children  schools  learning  difference 
august 2015 by robertogreco
The Problem We All Live With | This American Life
"Right now, all sorts of people are trying to rethink and reinvent education, to get poor minority kids performing as well as white kids. But there's one thing nobody tries anymore, despite lots of evidence that it works: desegregation. Nikole Hannah-Jones looks at a district that, not long ago, accidentally launched a desegregation program. First of a two-part series.

Ira speaks with New York Times Magazine Reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones about her years reporting on education and the various kinds of school reforms administrators have tried to close the achievement gap that never seem to work. Nikole says there's one reform that people have pretty much given up on, despite a lot of evidence that it works – school integration. (11 minutes)

ACT ONE: The Problem We All Live With PART ONE.

Nikole Hannah-Jones reports on a school district that accidentally stumbled on an integration program in recent years. It's the Normandy School District in Normandy, Missouri. Normandy is on the border of Ferguson, Missouri, and the district includes the high school that Michael Brown attended. (30 minutes)

ACT TWO: The Problem We All Live With PART TWO.

Nikole Hannah-Jones' story on the Normandy school district from the first part of the show continues. (14 minutes) Nikole also wrote about Normandy for ProPublica. [https://www.propublica.org/article/ferguson-school-segregation ] And Elisa Crouch's article in St Louis Dispatch that documented the day in the life of one Normandy senior is here. [http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/a-senior-year-mostly-lost-for-a-normandy-honor-student/article_ce759a06-a979-53b6-99bd-c87a430dc339.html ]

Nikole Hannah-Jones
SONG:
"IS IT BECAUSE I'M BLACK", SYL JOHNSON

Norman Rockwell's painting "The Problem We All Live With" depicting Ruby Bridges – the first black child to attend an all white elementary school in the South. Image from the website of the Norman Rockwell Museum."

[Part 2: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/563/the-problem-we-all-live-with-part-two
"Last week we looked at a school district integrating by accident. This week: a city going all out to integrate its schools. Plus, a girl who comes up with her own one-woman integration plan.

Chana Joffe-Walt talks to Kiana, who went to a school that was overwhelmingly black and Latino, but when some white students showed up one day on an exchange program, she went up to them eagerly. And since then, has embarked on a one-woman school integration program. Among other things, she wanted to see “white wasted.” (9 minutes)

ACT ONE

My Secret Public Plan.

Chana Joffe-Walt reports on the Hartford, CT school system, which actively seeks to integrate. The results have been impressive. It used to be that 11% of Hartford students were in integrated schools. Now it’s nearly half. But the trick to the whole thing is: convince white families it’s in their self- interest to go to integrated schools. This requires the kind of marketing skills and savvy we’re more used to seeing at Apple and Pepsi than we are at a public school district. (38 minutes)

ACT TWO

What’s It All About, Arne?

Reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, who has investigated integration in schools for years, joins Chana Joffe-Walt to interview the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. The Obama Administration says it’s in favor of integrating the schools, but doesn’t seem to do so much to promote it. They seemed to have the perfect opportunity, integration advocates say, with their Race to the Top program. But even then they didn’t act. Nikole and Chana ask: what’s the deal? (8 minutes)"]
thisamericanlife  education  segregation  desegregation  2015  policy  race  nikolehannah-jones  elisacrouch  whiteflight  resegregation  history  chanajoffe-walt  arneduncan  rttt  learning  schools  us  busing  missouri  racism 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Mapping Segregation - The New York Times
[Some problems with this map. https://twitter.com/rogre/status/619004174580068353 ]

"New government rules will require all cities and towns receiving federal housing funds to assess patterns of segregation."
maps  mapping  nytimes  segregation  demographics  us  cities  census  housing  2015  2010  data 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Why I Begged My Mother to Take Me Out of the Gifted Program | Tue Night
"I understand what they were trying to do. When my teacher nominated me to be sent to a different classroom for part of each day, a class with older and more advanced learners, it was her way of keeping me interested in the learning process. Our school system was 90 percent black and, according to standardized tests, most of us were performing below grade level.

Not me.

At nine years old, my reading aptitude test scores were at the college level. My mother was so happy that she took out an ad in the local paper congratulating me for my grade-school accomplishment. She was proud. I was bored.

For weeks after the test results came in, my teacher would create separate spelling tests and reading lists just for me to try to keep me engaged and challenged. I understand that was probably an extra burden on her. If I was a third grade teacher and one of my students was reading Romeo & Juliet during silent reading time, I might suggest she needed to join a class at a higher grade level for part of the day, too. Unfortunately, even a good idea can take a negative turn.

In the beginning, I was excited about leaving my classroom for an hour a day. I thought it made me special or, at the very least, proved that I was smart. (Truthfully, most of my classmates were as smart as I was—I was just really good at memorization and taking tests.) It also helped that adults I loved and trusted had always told me I was smart. We were a school full of black children, and it wasn’t uncommon to hear our white teachers refer to us as “they,” “them,” “those kids,” or whisper to one another about our many shortcomings. I remember a time in class when a teacher told a black boy he’d never learn to read well if he insisted on speaking like a “thug.” Then she smiled toward me and said, “Don’t you want to sound smart like Ashley?”

I was taken aback. Not only did I hate being compared to the other kids (it didn’t exactly make me popular with them), but I also hadn’t realized I spoke differently from my classmates. From that day forward, they never let me forget it. Who could blame them?

By the time I got to fourth grade, I was no longer being sent to a different classroom for part of the day. No, my teachers felt that I was so brilliant I needed to be bused to an entirely different school two full days every week. The new school could not have been more different. The facilities were nicer, the test scores were higher, and my little brown face was one of a handful—maybe less.

At my “home” school, 75 percent of students received a free or reduced-rate lunch. We would laugh about our poverty, calling it “Government Lunch” and swapping dishes. The lunch ladies swiftly checked off our names on their list without a second glance and kept the line moving. At the new school, I explained that I didn’t pay for lunch and the cafeteria worker had to talk to three different people to figure out what the procedure was for such a thing. When I finally got my tray and sat with the rest of the kids from my class, I joked, “I guess you guys never had a poor kid here before.” They stared at each other, then at me, then back at each other. The silence nearly swallowed me up.

The days I spent at my “home” school varied greatly. Some days I was picked on mercilessly (usually because a teacher pointed me out as what everyone else should try to become). Other days, I felt so deeply understood by my peers, the thought of going back to the other school where they didn’t know anything about my culture was unbearable. And it wasn’t just about differences in the music we liked. I loved Matchbox 20 too! It was deeper than that. It was spending all night coloring a project with stubby crayons and nearly dry markers, just to have another kid bring in pages of pictures his dad printed out for him on a color printer. It was feigning sick the day of the Halloween party because I knew the other kids would show up in purchased costumes, something I’d never been able to do in my entire life. It was the mean lunch lady and the damn red binder she hauled out every time I said, “Free lunch.” At my “other” school , I was always the other. Always the black one. Always the poor one. The challenge in this new learning arena wasn’t academic but social. We could talk about Egypt all day long, but when I asked if Cleopatra was black, my new teacher pretended she didn’t hear me.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that I wanted out of my new school, but getting out was harder than I thought. All of my teachers were convinced that I was just intimidated by the work, not weary of the environment. So I played into their narrative and did something I’d never done before: I flunked. I bombed every test and failed to turn in every homework assignment until they sent me back to my home school full-time. Suddenly, my grades improved. Everything improved. I was happier, I was learning, and I was free to be where I wanted to be. I worked with my teachers to come up with a curriculum that challenged me, and I made it easy for them. My worst fear was that I would get bused again to a “better” school.

Right before I started middle school, an elite private school in town called my mother to see if I’d be interested in taking a test to see if I qualified for a full scholarship. I knew about this school. All grades, all facilities, and all white. After the call, my mother asked me what I thought. “It could be a great opportunity, Ash. Everybody graduates, and almost 100 percent of them go to college.”

I thought about the teachers at my original school who worked so hard to keep my brain challenged, my friends who were as smart (or smarter) than I was, and the lunch ladies who never made me feel like I was less worthy of food than anybody else. I thought about the time I’d spent at the other school, and how it felt like every moment there had been time stolen from me. In separating me from my classmates, I was being separated from my culture. And why? Because I could read big words? I could read big words anywhere, including right beside people who looked and lived just like me.

I looked at my mom, smiled and said, “I’m happy where I am.”"
ashleyford  education  schools  race  class  gifted  2015  freedom  belonging  identity  inclusion  inclusivity  comparison  howweteach  independentschools  privateschools  segregation  teaching  children  comfort  environment  inlcusivity 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Who Gets to Go to the Pool? - NYTimes.com
"In Baltimore, following the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, a city solicitor argued that racial segregation must continue at city pools because “swimming brought males and females into ‘physical’ and ‘intimate contact.’ ” Judge Roszel Thomsen agreed and upheld segregation in the city’s pools. He explained, Mr. Wiltse notes, that “swimming pools were ‘more sensitive than schools’ because of the visual and physical intimacy that accompanied their use.”

In a white supremacist imagination, these anxieties are one and the same. Racial intimacy is contamination. To mix is to be infected.

I grew up in a beach town but I cannot swim. My parents tried to put me in swimming lessons as a child but I hated every part of it: dunking my head underwater, smelling chlorine, getting my hair wet. Water has always been natural and unnatural to me, a threat and an inevitability.

My mother does not swim either, although she dutifully drove my sister and me to our swimming lessons at the city pool one summer. She grew up in southwest Louisiana, where the closest bodies of water were rivers and gulf beaches. She went to a segregated school and attended Mass at a segregated church with a cemetery where black and white bodies rot in segregated dirt. My mother also went to a segregated beach. Separating physical spaces — like church pews or school buildings — is conceivable, but how do you segregate an ocean, water itself?

“It’s foolish,” my mother says, “because water mixes. Water can’t decide which way it’s gonna go.”

For decades, white swimmers feared sharing a beach with black people because they worried about catching disease, yet hired blacks to cook their food or nurse their children. Mr. Thurmond rallied against race mixing and yet, after his death, it was revealed that he had a daughter with a black woman who had worked in his family’s home. There’s a strange intimacy in racism, and water exposes the inevitability of this intimacy. Water touches me, then touches you."
swimmingpools  race  racism  us  2015  britbennett  history  segregation  edg  srg  glvo 
june 2015 by robertogreco
UNC Press - Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, by Jeff Wiltse.
"Jeff Wiltse, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, dives into the untold story behind taking a dip.

Q: How did you get the idea for this book? What inspired your research?

A: The idea literally came to me in a dream over Thanksgiving weekend in 1996. I awoke early Saturday morning in the midst of a dream in which I was writing about the swimming pool I frequented as a child. I immediately wondered what the history of swimming pools was more generally and presumed it must be interesting and worth researching. The first person I mentioned the idea to—my then girlfriend and now wife—laughed at me incredulously. I told her to wait and see. When I soon discovered that no one had previously written on the topic, I knew I was onto something.

Q: Are you a swimmer?

A: I never swam competitively, but I spent countless summer days at the local pool during my childhood. I vaguely understood even then, as I snuck glances at pretty girls and chatted with friends and neighbors, that swimming pools were uniquely intimate and sociable spaces. My most vivid memories from childhood are of time spent at the pool: being thrown up in the air and into the water by my father, showing off to impress girls, beating all comers at pickleball, and trading baseball cards on the pool deck. In many ways I grew up at the local swimming pool.

Q: Contested Waters focuses primarily on the northern United States. Why?

A: I quickly realized that the research for this project would require me driving from city to city and town to town searching for sources in local libraries and archives. Limiting the project to the northern United States made this type of on-the-road research more manageable. I also focused on the North because I wanted to tell a coherent story rather than interpret regional variations. As it turned out, what happened at swimming pools throughout the North, whether in Chicago and St. Louis or Newton, Kansas and Elizabeth, New Jersey, was all quite similar.

Q: When and where did the first municipal outdoor pool open? What was its purpose?

A: Philadelphia opened the first outdoor municipal pool that I have identified in the United States on June 24, 1883, at the corner of Twelfth and Wharton Streets. City officials intended for the pool to function essentially as a large public bathtub for working-class residents, who lacked bathing facilities in their homes. The local boys and young men, however, flocked to the pool in order to roughhouse and play in the water, just as working-class boys had done for generations in the rivers around Philadelphia. Four days after it opened, the swimmers waiting in line outside the "bath" rioted when the superintendent told them that they would not be admitted that evening. Enraged, the fifty young men tore the bathhouse door from its hinges and knocked down the fence surrounding the pool. Police officers eventually restored order "with a liberal application of their clubs." This was an apt beginning to the often contentious history of municipal pools in America.

Q: When and why did the rule of showering before entering a pool come into effect?

A: Since the earliest municipal pools were intended to be public baths, the facilities did not contain showers as the pool itself was the instrument of cleaning. Dirty bathers plunged into the water and rubbed their skin clean. Cities first installed showers at pools during the mid-to-late 1890s in response to popular acceptance of the germ theory of disease transmission. Once it became known that the source of diseases was invisible microbes that could be transmitted through water, pools suddenly became obsolete and downright dangerous as baths. Consequently cities added showers to the changing rooms, so swimmers would be clean before entering the water, and redefined pools as sport and fitness facilities. Some cities even hired doctors to inspect swimmers as they exited the showers to ensure they were thoroughly clean and did not show obvious signs of disease.

Q: According to Contested Waters, early pools were often segregated by class. How was this accomplished?

A: Public officials used two primary means to encourage class segregation at municipal pools: location and admission fees. Most often, cities located early pools within thoroughly class-bound residential neighborhoods. Pools located in residential slums attracted only poor and working-class swimmers. Pools located within middle-class enclaves mostly drew swimmers from the surrounding homes. In cases where early pools were centrally located, public officials resorted to admission fees to separate rich swimmers from poor. In some cases fees were used to exclude the working classes entirely. In others, cities implemented graduated fee schedules that separated the classes in their use of the same pool. In Brookline, Massachusetts, for example, the town's poor swam when admission was free, the middle class typically chose to swim when admission cost fifteen cents, and the wealthy swam on the one night each week when admission cost fifty cents.

Q: When and why did pools become segregated by race?

A: During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, blacks and whites commonly swam together at municipal pools in the North. By contrast pools were strictly segregated along gender lines. Municipal pools throughout the North became racially segregated during the 1920s and 1930s, during the same time that cities permitted males and females to swim together. Gender integration was the most direct cause of racial segregation at municipal pools in the North. Most northern whites did not want black men to have the opportunity to interact with white women at such visually and physically intimate public spaces. A secondary cause of racial segregation was increasing concerns among northern whites that blacks en masse were dirty and more likely than whites to be infected by communicable diseases.

Q: You mention that in the early twentieth century, it took ten yards of material to make a woman's swimsuit. By 1940, it took only one yard of material to make a suit. What accounts for the shrinkage of the American swimsuit?

A: In part the shrinking size of swimsuits reflected the more general cultural liberalization of the era, especially during the 1920s. More particularly, the acceptable size of swimsuits shrank between 1920 and 1940 for three main reasons. Young women contributed to the downsizing by persistently wearing swimsuits that pushed the boundaries of public decency. At first immodest swimmers were ejected from pools and sometimes even fined. But, as one public official explained, skimpy swimsuits must be "the trend of the times," and who was he to defy "popular demand for such bathing suits." Second, swimsuit manufacturers spurred the market for skimpy swimsuits during this period through advertising campaigns.

Jantzen, for example, started marketing its mass-produced swimsuits as fashion garments, encouraging women in particular to buy a new suit each year rather than wear "last year's style." For this strategy to work, the company had to create new styles each season. Sometimes it introduced new colors or added a frill, but most often it trimmed the suit down so that it covered less of the body.

Finally, Hollywood movies influenced swimsuit trends and cultural attitudes about proper dress. The swimsuits actresses wore onscreen inspired considerable imitation. Movies also helped refashion cultural attitudes about proper dress by exposing millions of Americans to swimsuits that challenged existing standards. Having already been revealed onscreen, skimpy and tight-fitting styles seemed more conventional when they appeared at the local pool.

Q: When did bathing beauty pageants come into vogue?

A: Bathing beauty contests were first staged at municipal swimming pools in the late 1920s. Typically a dozen or so teenage girls paraded before a mixed-gender crowd of ogling spectators wearing skimpy, tight-fitting swimsuits. The sanctioning of these community events indicates that by the late 1920s public objectification of women's bodies had become socially acceptable in America. The beauty contests also hint at a fundamental change in the meaning of public decency. By the 1920s public decency had come to mean exhibiting an attractive, even eye-catching, appearance rather than protecting one's modesty. This cultural shift was conspicuously apparent at the nation's swimming pools.

Q: What was the most surprising discovery to emerge from your research?

A: When I started the project I did not realize how popular municipal swimming pools were between 1920 and 1950. Each year tens of millions of Americans swam in municipal pools. Many of the pools were enormous, some larger than football fields. San Francisco's Fleischhacker Pool, for example, was 1,000 feet long and 150 feet wide. There is a picture in the book showing a lifeguard patrolling the pool in a rowboat. Fairgrounds Park Pool in St. Louis was a circular pool 400 feet in diameter. According to newspaper reports, 50,000 people visited it one Saturday shortly after it openedÑ25,000 to swim and 25,000 more to watch. In many cities and towns the pools were vital social and cultural institutions that served as centers of community life during the summer.

Q: What accounts for the popularity of backyard residential pools beginning in the 1950s?

A: There are several explanations for the backyard-pool boom during the postwar period. Rising middle-class salaries, a less expensive pool construction technique called the Gunite method, and the proliferation of suburban homes with large backyards all created the material conditions necessary for many American families to install residential pools. Furthermore, backyard pools appealed to suburbanites because they promised to strengthen family relationships by providing an at-home space for the whole family to recreate; they advertised success and upward mobility; and they enabled owners to control their … [more]
books  via:jannon  srg  edg  glvo  swimmingpools  history  us  swimming  race  segregation  desegregation  jeffwiltse 
june 2015 by robertogreco
McKinney, Texas, and the Racial History of American Swimming Pools - The Atlantic
"Backyard pools and private clubs only proliferated after municipal pools were forcibly desegregated."
yoniappelbaum  swimming  us  race  segregation  swimmingpools  2015  desegregation  racism  edg  srg  glvo 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Who Gets To Hang Out At The Pool? | WNPR News
"But as others have noted, this story brings up a decades-old American drama around race and swimming pools, featuring racial gatekeepers who opted to privatize public spaces rather than integrate them. It's worth revisiting that history as we try to make sense of McKinney.

Jeff Wiltse, the author of the book Contested Waters, told NPR in 2007 that the early 20th century saw a boom in public swimming pools, which were originally intended for bathing and hygiene. These new municipal pools were enormously popular, but they were separated by gender over fears of sexual impropriety. And like so many other public resources, these new pools were concentrated in white neighborhoods.

"There has always been fear, in terms of using swimming pools, about being exposed to the dirt and the disease of other swimmers," Wiltse said. "And back during the 1920s and 1930s, and ... continuing on even further up from there, there were racist assumptions that black Americans were dirtier than whites, that they were more likely to be infected by communicable diseases." (There's a famous story about the time Sammy Davis Jr. swam in a whites-only pool in Las Vegas, prompting the manager to immediately drain it afterward.)

But those big public pools eventually became mixed-gender pools, unleashing even deeper-seated fears about what might happen if black men and white women went swimming together. "Whites in many cases literally beat blacks out of the water at gender-integrated pools because they would not permit black men to interact with white women at such intimate public spaces," Wiltse writes. "Thus, municipal pools in the North continued to be intensely contested after 1920, but the lines of social division shifted from class and gender to race."

Campaigns by civil rights groups like the NAACP to integrate public pools often turned very, very ugly. "Groups for and against segregation threw rocks and tomatoes at one another, swung bats and fists, and even stabbed and shot at each other," Wiltse wrote.

Even after Brown v. Board of Education ostensibly desegregated America's schools in 1955, a federal judge sided with Baltimore's pro-segregation argument that pools "were more sensitive than schools." (That decision was later overturned.)

But what happened in Baltimore next was instructive for what would happen more broadly throughout the country: White folks stopped using public swimming facilities altogether, instead opting to join private swimming clubs or for pools in their backyards. As The Atlantic's Yoni Appelbaum writes, the popularity of private pools and members-only pool clubs exploded in the postwar years:
"Before 1950, Americans went swimming as often as they went to the movies, but they did so in public pools. There were relatively few club pools, and private pools were markers of extraordinary wealth. Over the next half-century, though, the number of private in-ground pools increased from roughly 2,500 to more than four million. The declining cost of pool construction, improved technology, and suburbanization all played important roles. But then, so did desegregation."

Appelbaum points to Marshall, Texas, where 95 percent of local residents voted in 1957 to have the city sell off its recreational facilities; the pool's new private owners reopened it as a whites-only space.

It was during one of these fights that the famous photograph at the top of this post was taken. It shows James Brock, a motel manager in St. Augustine, Fla., pouring muriatic acid into a pool filled with black kids who were participating in a protest against whites-only pools. J.T. Johnson and Al Lingo, two of those protesters, talked with StoryCorps last year about that moment.
" 'Everybody was kind of caught off guard,' J.T. says.
" 'The girls, they were most frightened, and we moved to the center of the pool,' Al says.
" 'I tried to calm the gang down. I knew that there was too much water for that acid to do anything,' J.T. says. 'When they drug us out in bathing suits and they carried us out to the jail, they wouldn't feed me because they said I didn't have on any clothes. I said, "Well, that's the way you locked me up!"'"

Wiltse theorized that the disproportionate number of black Americans who can't swim and are more likely to drown is in part due to this historical lack of access to regular places to swim. Once white folks fled to the suburbs and built their own pools, he explains, public pools fell into disrepair and began closing. "As a result of that pattern of discrimination, swimming did not really become a significant part of ... black culture," he told NPR's Michel Martin back in 2007. Because swimming never took root in black communities, he said, fixing swimming pools was not much of a priority when black politicians began winning elective office in the 1960s and 1970s.

Which brings us back to the incident in McKinney, Texas. The details about what happened on Friday are still coming out: who lived in the neighborhood, who was just visiting, to what extent it matters. But as Appelbaum and others have been saying, it's important to remember that the rise of private swimming spaces like this one is all tangled up in attempts to desegregate public ones."

[See also: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10495199
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-vegas-hotspot-that-broke-all-the-rules-165807434/ ]

[posted at this URL too: http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/06/09/412913702/who-gets-to-hang-out-at-the-pool ]
2015  genedemby  history  swimmingpools  us  segregation  race  swimming  edg  srg  glvo  jeffwiltse 
june 2015 by robertogreco
How our cars, our neighborhoods, and our schools are pulling us apart - The Washington Post
"Americans are pulling apart. We're pulling apart from each other in general. And, in particular, we're pulling apart from people who differ from us.

The evidence on this idea is varied, broad and often weird.

We are, as Robert Putnam famously put it, less likely to join community bowling leagues.

We're more likely, as I mentioned yesterday after a police confrontation with a group of black teens at a private swimming pool, to swim in seclusion, in gated community clubs and back-yard pools that have taken the place of public pools.

We're more likely to spend time isolated in our cars, making what was historically a communal experience — the commute to work — a private one. In 1960, 63 percent of American commuters got to work in a private car.

Now, 85 percent of us do. And three-quarters of us are riding in that car alone.

Within large metropolitan areas, we live more spread out, more distant, from each other than we once did. The population density in central cities plummeted by half after the 1950s, as many residents left for the suburbs.

As a result, writes economist Joseph Cortright in a new City Observatory report, in metropolitan America we now have fewer neighbors, on average, and we live farther from them than we did five decades ago.

It's little wonder, then, that we now socialize with them less often, too.

Add up all of these seemingly disconnected facts, and here you are: "There is compelling evidence," Cortright writes in the new report, "that the connective tissue that binds us together is coming apart."

The shared experiences and communal spaces where our lives intersect — even if just for a ride to a work, or a monthly PTA meeting — have grown seemingly more sparse. And all of this isolation means that the wealthy have little idea what the lives of the poor look like, that people who count on private resources shy away from spending on public ones, that misconceptions about groups unlike ourselves are broadly held.

Cortright's underlying point is the same as Putnam's 20 years ago. We're receding from the public realm in ways that could undermine communities and the will that arises when people within them know and trust each other.

We're even living further apart from each other within our own homes. As our houses have gotten bigger — and the size of the average household has declined — we're a lot less likely today in America to share bedrooms.A particularly curious data point Cortright unearths: In 1960, 3.5 percent of U.S. households lived in a home where bedrooms outnumbered occupants. Today, 44 percent of households do.

Here's another: We no longer even share the same experience of public safety. In the 1970s, Cortright points out that there were about 40 percent more private security officers in this country than public law enforcement officers. By the 1990s, there were twice as many. And their presence — monitoring gated communities, private clubs, quasi-public spaces like shopping malls — marks a kind of "anti-social capital." It implies that private guards must manage communities where that missing "connective tissue" can't.

When we retreat into these private spaces and separate enclaves, now increasingly sorted by income, too, we have less and less in common. And when we have little left in common, it's hard to imagine how we'll agree on fixes to big problems, or how we'll empathize with the people touched by them.

This familiar argument is particularly relevant now to many of the bitter debates we're having around racial unrest and even poverty. If rich and poor, black and white, don't share the same commons — if they attend separate schools, live in separate neighborhoods, swim in separate pools, rely on separate transportation — then there's little reason for them to mutually invest in any of these resources.

Historically in American cities, the ghetto didn't just separate black homes from white ones. It ensured that the rest of the city would never share in the concerns — shoddy trash pickup, weak policing, meager public investments — of the people who lived there.

The relationships that run between social capital, trust and the public realm, as Cortright writes, are complicated (likely even more so by modern technology). But they feel tremendously relevant today.

"Arguably," he writes, "the decline in social capital is both a cause and an effect of the decline of the public realm: people exhibit less trust because they have fewer interactions; we have fewer interactions, so we have lower levels of trust and less willingness to invest in the public realm that supports it.""
segregation  us  cities  urbanism  urban  cars  transportation  schools  education  2015  emilybadger  robertputnam  race  class  commuting  josephcortright  neighborhoods  community  communitities  isolation  trust  publiccommons  gatedcommunities  social  capitalism  security  lawenforcement  income 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Historian Says Don't 'Sanitize' How Our Government Created Ghettos : NPR
"Fifty years after the repeal of Jim Crow, many African-Americans still live in segregated ghettos in the country's metropolitan areas. Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, has spent years studying the history of residential segregation in America.

"We have a myth today that the ghettos in metropolitan areas around the country are what the Supreme Court calls 'de-facto' — just the accident of the fact that people have not enough income to move into middle class neighborhoods or because real estate agents steered black and white families to different neighborhoods or because there was white flight," Rothstein tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

"It was not the unintended effect of benign policies," he says. "It was an explicit, racially purposeful policy that was pursued at all levels of government, and that's the reason we have these ghettos today and we are reaping the fruits of those policies.""
housing  us  history  race  racism  2015  richardrothstein  wealth  government  policy  urbanpolicy  fha  via:jannon  realestate  blockbusting  redlining  segregation  cities  ghettos  slums 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, and America’s cultural generation gap | Brookings Institution
"Underlying these trends is an emerging cultural generation gap, which I write about in my book “Diversity Explosion.” This gap reflects the increasing social distance between older whites—baby boomers and seniors—and younger, more racially diverse Gen Xers and millennials. The former grew up in the homogenous 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, years of low immigration, segregated minorities, and little interaction between the large white population and the mostly black racial minority population. As white baby boomers became older and more concerned with their own finances and economic well-being, they became more conservative on many dimensions, including voting and party identification. Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center and others show boomers and seniors to be less open to new immigrant groups and minorities, and more averse to a bigger government with more services (and higher taxes) than younger more diverse generations who, in addition to favoring greater government support for domestic programs, are more progressive on an array of social issues, from same-sex marriage to immigration reform. In essence, older white Americans do not see younger Americans as “their” children and grandchildren and have lost a common connection.

This perception needs to be corrected since, as the younger white population declines and older whites retire from the labor force, racial minorities, especially growing new minorities—Hispanics, Asians, and multiracial Americans—are more crucial to the nation’s future. The continued divided politics of race and age simply reinforce this old misperception."
generations  segregation  race  racism  aging  us  2015  generationalwarfare  marcorubio  hillaryclinton  economics  politics  policy  immigration  diversity  minorities 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Two sentences that perfectly capture what it means to be privileged in America today - Vox
"Giridharadas's point is particularly salient now, as Robert Putnam's book about the growing fissure between upper- and lower-class America is a hot topic in political circles. Toward the end of his talk (around the 16-minute mark), he hammers home the point that there are two Americas, and that many people who reside firmly in the more privileged version don't even realize it.

"Don't console yourself that you are the 99 percent," he says. "If you live near a Whole Foods; if no one in your family serves in the military; if you are paid by the year, not the hour; if most people you know finished college; if no one you know uses meth; if you married once and remain married; if you're not one of 65 million Americans with a criminal record — if any or all of these things describe you, then accept the possibility that actually, you may not know what's going on, and you may be part of the problem."

Harsh as that sounds, Giridharadas gets at an important point that Putnam also echoed in a recent interview with Vox: as the highest and lowest incomes in the US move further apart, well-off and low-income Americans also know less and less about each other and what it truly means to be from another social class. Indeed, only 1 percent of Americans consider themselves upper-class. As economic segregation grows, it plays a part in keeping people from climbing up the social ladder."

[YouTube link for Anand Giridharadas's talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i-pNVj5KMw ]

[Response from Connor Kilpatrick:
“Let Them Eat Privilege: Focusing on privilege diverts attention away from the real villains.”
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/04/1-99-percent-class-inequality/

"By forcing the middle class to divert their attention downward (and within) instead of at the real power players above, Vox and Giridharadas are playing into the Right’s hands. It’s an attempt to shame the middle class — those with some wealth but, relative to the top one or one-tenth of one percent, mere crumbs — to make them shut up about the rich and super rich and, instead, look at those below as a reminder that it could all be much worse.

[…]

Even when the income of the one percent (mostly the bottom half of that select group) is derived primarily from high salaries (as opposed to returns on investment) it’s far more likely to be reinvested in shares, bonds, and real estate — and of course elite educations and other opportunities for their children — than the income of the middle 40 percent, who have hardly anything left once the bills are paid.

That means that even with nothing more than a killer W-2, the salaried lower half of the one percent still have the means to consolidate themselves as an elite class while the rest of us are immiserated.

When a cut in capital gains taxes is paid for by hiking state tuition and slashing social services, the one percent benefits while the vast majority of the 99 percent loses. When a new law is passed making it harder to organize a union or wages are squeezed to ring out higher and higher corporate profits, it’s the one percent — and their investment portfolios — that benefits and the majority of the 99 percent who loses.

It’s real winners and losers — not a state of mind and not a “culture.” And it works like this:

[chart]

What’s bad for you economically is probably good for them. That’s why the rest of us will have to come in conflict with this tiny elite and its institutions if we’re going win a more just and egalitarian future for ourselves.

By substituting class relations for an arbitrary list of “privileges,” Vox is attempting to paint a picture of an immiserated America with no villain. It’s an America without a ruling class that directly and materially benefits from everyone else’s hard times. And this omission isn’t just incorrect — it robs us of any meaningful oppositional politics that could change it all.

It’s a conclusion that, despite Vox’s endorsement, plays into conservatives’ hands. Like the journalist Robert Fitch once wrote, it is the aim of the Right “to restrict the scope of class conflict — to bring it down to as low a level as possible. The smaller and more local the political unit, the easier it is to run it oligarchically.”

So why turn inward? Why argue over who’s got the sweeter deal and how we’re all responsible for the gross inequity of society when it’s not that much more than a tiny sliver of millionaires and billionaires at Davos sipping wine and rubbing shoulders with politicians?

Let’s try worrying more about knowing thy enemy — and building solidarity from that recognition. “Check your privilege?” Sure. But for once, let’s try checking it against the average hedge fund manager instead of a random Whole Foods shopper."]
anandgiridharadas  inequality  privilege  2015  race  military  employment  work  labor  drugs  addiction  poverty  education  marriage  class  robertputnam  politics  secondchances  religion  islam  mercy  forgiveness  grace  us  humanism  segregation  lifeexpectancy  healthcare  faith  civics  law  legal  capitalpunishment  deathpenalty  raisuddinbhuiyan  markstroman  connorkilpatrick 
april 2015 by robertogreco
2, 6: Neighborhoods, the Anti-Algorithm
"So what does this have to do with my neighborhood?

G.K. Chesterton, in a collection of essays titled Heretics, wrote:
"The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world. He knows much more of the fierce variety and uncompromising divergences of men…In a large community, we can choose our companions. In a small community, our companions are chosen for us. Thus in all extensive and highly civilized society groups come into existence founded upon sympathy, and shut out the real world more sharply than the gates of a monastery."

That was 1905. Long before the internet would give us the largest community of all. Yet, the oft-cited "filter bubble" of the internet is Chesterton's community of choice. The easy community. The one that just happens because we want what we want. And in a less troubled world, that wouldn't be much to fuss about. But in our world, the "filter bubble" is dangerous. It makes fear, hatred, and oppression all the more abundant, both online and off. Before the internet, we called "filter bubbles" segregation. We call them "filter bubbles" now because its easier to see them as a manifestation of technology than the effect of our choices. Because if we saw them for what they truly are, we'd have to call them segregation again. We thought we left that behind. But, no, we haven't. Segregation, of every kind, is the entropy against which we all struggle, the product of bodies living in time, wired down to our cells to survive at all costs, responding to their loudest signal, fear. Chesterton understood that the principal challenge we humans are given to work out in this life is each other, and that nowhere better than next door is that challenge met.

But in Facebook's world, next-door has no greater offer of intimacy than across town, or state, or country. In the large community, as Chesterton said, we can choose our companions. That's the appeal of the network. Community on my terms. Forget that we know it's not good for us. Or that it's dangerous. Forget that it's a shinier, faster form of segregation. Forget that it's invisible and layered, making it easier to explain away. None of this is Facebook's fault. If it wasn't them, then it would be AOL, or Friendster, or MySpace, or any of the many networks that came before it. We can't blame them — any of them — for segregation, however technological its 21st century incarnation may be. But we can blame them for selling it. The economic benefit of segregation is nothing new; it makes selling things easier. But segregation is Facebook's secret sauce. It's an economic imperative. Like just about every "platform" of the internet today, it is ruthlessly driven to box each one of us in. To confine us to an echo-chamber. Not for our own benefit, but for theirs. Because it makes it easier for them to control us. And no, not to usher in some dramatic, Illuminati-style new world order. It's hardly that interesting! It's to sell tiny display ads and make heaps of money. That's it. Controlling us is simply an act of inventory management.

Of course, it's easy to look past all of this. To point at the good that thrives on the network — and of that, there is plenty. The lonely who are no longer lonely because of it. The oppressed who grow more powerful when bound together. But to celebrate the network's role in that only heightens my awareness that it is something we could have — should have — without it. It's too easy, also, to celebrate the engines of our ingenuity. See this? Look what we have made! But that we are as enamored with the algorithm as we so clearly are is an indicator that our hearts are way out of sync with our minds. We have engineered such sophisticated tools for connecting, ordering, and studying ourselves; it's an astounding achievement. It's one we might even celebrate if it were truly an open project for the common good. But it isn't. Not even close. So why do we pretend that it is? The network is not ours. It's the other way around. We are the network's. To sell. That is, unless we get off the network. Or at least spend a whole lot less time there.

My neighbors have convinced me that community is not only of the network. Saying such a thing sounds trite. But it's another thing entirely to live it. Here's an example: Last year, the doctor and his wife down the street decided to organize weekly neighborhood dinners. Each Sunday evening, someone hosts dinner for the neighborhood. When I first heard the idea, I was aghast. Weekly! As in, every week? No, I thought, monthly, maybe. But we went to a few, then we hosted one of our own — which wasn't nearly as much work as we thought it would be — and we've regularly gone to most of the others since. It's not obligatory. It's not like if you go to one, you must go to them all. Or even that if you go to one, you must host one. Few people have gone to every dinner, but many of us have gone to most of them. And many of us have hosted one.

Spending this time together — committing to it — is how the work gets done, not the Facebook group. It's through being together, in each other's homes, in real life. Don't get me wrong, it's no utopia. People get on each other's nerves. Not everyone will become best friends. We're talking about people here. But that's the point. The network can't sell that. It can sell our attention, but the less of our lives we live on the network, the less our attention feels like us. That's the control we still have. Eventually, hopefully, leveraging that control could change the economics of the network. Consider the neighborhood the anti-algorithm."
2015  chrisbutler  facebook  socialnetworks  gkchesterson  difference  filterbubbles  algorithms  neighborhoods  discovery  community  communities  understanding  empathy  small  attention  feeds  segregation  diversity  technology  separation  togetherness  companionship  sympathy 
february 2015 by robertogreco
The Great Equity Test | EduShyster
"Xian Franzinger Barrett argues that accountability without equity means more inequity…

EduShyster: OK—I need you to set me straight here. Is ensuring that we continue to test kids in high-needs schools the civil rights issue of our time? Or is striking a blow against too much testing in high needs schools the civil rights issue of our time? Or is civil rights actually the civil rights issue of our time?

Xian Franzinger Barrett: The people who are talking about this genuinely on both sides are talking about the same thing, it’s just that the problem they’re trying to address is pervasive and terrible. This idea that we’re unseen and unheard unless we’re measured has a basis in history and reality, so I think it’s important that we don’t lose that. But anyone who says *you’re not going to be acknowledged unless you’re tested* is either too pessimistic or they’re racist. We also have to acknowledge that the very fact that people aren’t being supported or treated equitably unless they’re measured is racism. No one would ever say: *the rich kids in this private school—we don’t have a good measurement of them so we’re just not going to give them an education.* That’s just ridiculous.

EduShyster: That was only my first question and I’m pretty sure that already you have caused a number of heads to explode. So let’s keep going. You argue that accountability without equity actually ends up deepening inequity. Explain.

Franzinger Barrett: You think of that old expression about how when one person gets a cold, the other folks get pneumonia. If you mandate testing, it’s going to cause a mild disruption in most privileged communities, and it’s going to utterly decimate education in high-needs communities—unless, of course, there is some kind of intervention to stop that from happening. So when people say: *to acknowledge these communities, we have to do testing,* we need to ask why the communities aren’t acknowledged—and how are we going to make sure that this doesn’t become another inequitable thing stacked on top of people who are already burdened by inequity. You have the folks who argue that we need data on everything, everywhere saying that *if no one is watching what’s happening to the highest needs kids they’re not going to be supported.* But the flip side of that is that if there’s no filter for equity, you end up creating impossible burdens on the students, the parents and the teachers.

Xian2EduShyster: Well, I can tell you that you’re wrong because it says so right here in this internal messaging guide *How to Talk About Testing.* And one of the first thing it says is that if a parent or teacher tells you that there is too much testing, explain slowly and in simple language that they are wrong.

Franzinger Barrett: The burden of testing is inequitable. I’ll tell you what it means in the kind of environment that I’ve taught in. I happen to have a progressive principal now who advocates for our students and our building. But I’ve had 10 principals in 9 years in the Chicago Public Schools, and most have pushed the central office line on test at the staff and students of the community. So you’ve got a principal who spends most of her time outside of the building being harassed by higher ups about low test scores. She then comes back to the building and says *we’ve got a new plan and all of our resources are going to go to support test prep,* which means no field trips this year. Usually the plan isn’t based on any real research. The plan gets passed down, which means that every teacher is forced to ask themselves in an individual context: how do I weigh what I know is best for young people against my job? Teaching engaging lessons with culturally relevant curriculum is a hard thing to do even when you’re fully supported. But it becomes almost impossible when you’re basically being asked to risk your career in order to do that. What I need to do to really teach the highest needs students well automatically puts me at odds with higher ups in a district that’s focused on testing.

EduShyster: I follow you on Twitter, where you are a master of, among other things, the 140 character history lesson, especially when it comes to reminding people that inequity didn’t exactly arise with the advent of standardized testing.

Franzinger Barrett: I think it’s important that we don’t frame testing and the resulting narrowing of the curriculum as a new thing that has created inequity. While testing has created more inequity, high needs minorities communities have always been subjected to compliance-focused education—with one important exception: when these communities have run their own educations. Jean Anyon has written about the hidden curriculum of schools and how schools have been set up to teach empowerment and creativity and agency to affluent kids, but to teach working class kids to be compliant and follow orders. What’s interesting is that these sort of *improve everything* charter schools tend to fall into the second category. We can look back before Brown vs. Board of Education and say education was a catastrophe because of under-resourcing. When we look at the actual agency that African-American teachers had teaching African-American students, an argument can be made that it was better.

Ice CreamEduShyster: Since this interview is about race and equity, I have to ask you about racial tensions within the pro-public education movement. You’re a leader of that movement but you’ve also been a sharp critic of it for being overly white and frankly out-of-touch when it comes to issues of race.

Franzinger Barrett: So much of it has to do with organizing strategies and our core beliefs about what a pathway to freedom or a march to freedom looks like. We need to face the fact that it’s not possible for the privileged to lead a movement for educational justice on behalf of high-needs communities—and I would place myself in that privileged group here. Whether it’s our stance on testing or a just and empowering curriculum or teacher evaluation, we would all do better if we sat down and listened to the communities we work in and the students we serve. And we need to be prepared to hear some very harsh realities. I’m very interested, by the way, to see what happens this spring with our Network for Public Education (which I’m on the governing board of) conference in Chicago because you have a lot of great people with awesome motives who have worked their butts off for justice who are scratching their heads and asking *why are we so white?* I don’t think this is about shaming that. We have to address it head on and ask: *What is our long term plan to ensure that our movement is led by those most affected by policy?*

EduShyster: That idea that teachers need to listen to their students and the communities they’re from is a big part of the vision of CORE, the Chicago Teachers Union’s Caucus of Rank and File Educators, that you’re part of. Give us an example of what you hear.

Franzinger Barrett: In my 9th year of teaching in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood, I did peace circles with my students, which are safe spaces where participants can share their experiences without judgment. It was like being a first-year teacher again. I had assumed for all of those years that the honors kids liked the way they were learning at the school and the highest-needs kids, who I spent my time with, didn’t. But what I found out was that all of those kids who were doing great on tests hated the general school culture too. It was just that they’d learned along the way that there was some compensation for towing the line. And that was really hard. It was hard as an educator to stand there and hear that, as good as your motives are, you’re still part of the team that’s trapping us in this oppressive place. I was really thankful that they were willing to tell me that. That led to a lot of effective activism to make our school a more affirming, welcoming place. It was a tough moment but something beautiful came out of it.

EduShyster: One of the things I love about you is that you talk about *peace circles,* and say things like *march to freedom.* No one talks like that! Other than listening to Xian Franzinger Barrett, who else should we be paying more attention to in the debate over the future of public education?

Franzinger Barrett: Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) did opt-out work that wasn’t covered much. The first thing they did was hold protests and press conferences to try to get the right to take the ACT—because many students had been declared ineligible in order to raise test scores. Then not long after they led a walk out from the ACT Workkeys test because they said that it was more likely to steer them towards non-professional jobs as youth of color. Some of the reporters found this very confusing and wanted to know how students could be demanding to take the tests one week and refusing to take them the next, but to VOYCE that was the whole point. They wanted a choice and a say. I just want to point out though that there tends to be a lot of overlap between groups that are doing great work around high-stakes testing with other community groups, because the issues all intersect. So it’s hard to be in community and care about testing and not also work on the school to prison pipeline or curriculum justice. So I’d point to folks like the Schools LA Students Deserve, Project NIA, the Black Youth Project, the Algebra Project, the student unions in Providence and Philly. Those are some of the groups I’m looking to learn from."
xianfranzingerbarrett  xianbarrett  2015  jenniferberkshire  teaching  howweteach  socialjustice  schools  publicschools  inequality  education  policy  measurement  oppression  control  power  learning  testing  standardizedtesting  standardization  brownvsboardofeducation  integration  segregation  class  chicago  race  equity  justice  legibility  leadership  privilege  inequity  empowerment  agency  activism  curriculum  voyce  canon 
february 2015 by robertogreco
What Happens When Your Teacher Is a Video Game? | The Nation
"Corporate lobbyists are increasingly promoting a type of charter school that places an emphasis on technology instead of human teachers. One of the exemplars of this model is Rocketship Education, based in Silicon Valley but with contracts to open schools in Milwaukee, Memphis, Nashville and Washington, DC. Rocketship’s model is based on four principles. First, the company cuts costs by eliminating teachers. Starting in kindergarten, students spend about one-quarter of their class time in teacherless computer labs, using video-game-based math and reading applications. The company has voiced hopes of increasing digital instruction to as much as 50 percent of student learning time.

Second, Rocketship relies on a corps of young, inexperienced, low-cost teachers. The turnover rate is dramatic—nearly 30 percent last year—but the company pays Teach for America to supply a steady stream of replacements.

Third, the school has narrowed its curriculum to a near-exclusive focus on math and reading. Since both Rocketship’s marketing strategy and teachers’ salaries are based on reading and math scores, other subjects are treated as inessential. There are no dedicated social studies or science classes, no music or foreign-language instruction, no guidance counselors and no libraries.

Finally, Rocketship maintains a relentless focus on teaching to the test. Students take math exams every eight weeks; following each, the staff revises lesson plans with an eye to improving scores. Rocketship boasts of its “backwards-mapping” pedagogy—starting with the test standards and then developing lesson plans to meet them. Rocketship is, as near as possible, all test-prep all the time.

Research suggests that any number of school models are more beneficial than online instruction. So why is this model being promoted by the country’s most powerful lobbies? Because, in Willie Sutton’s (apocryphal) words, “that’s where the money is.” As Hastings explains, the great financial advantage of digital education is that “you can produce once and consume many times.” Schools like Rocketship receive exactly the same funding for their teacherless applications as traditional schools do for credentialed teachers. Indeed, ALEC’s model legislation—adopted in five states—requires that even entirely virtual schools be paid the same dollars per student as traditional ones. As a result, the profit margins for digital products are enormous. It’s no wonder that investment banks, hedge funds and venture capitalists have flocked to this market. Rupert Murdoch pronounced US education “a $500 billion sector…waiting desperately to be transformed.”

Wall Street looks at education the same way it regards Social Security—as a huge flow of publicly guaranteed funding that is waiting to be privatized. The 2010 elections marked a major success for this effort, with twelve new states coming under Republican control. Within months, Florida’s new governor signed a bill requiring that high school students take at least one online course as a condition of graduation. At a meeting of investors in New York in 2012, one adviser gushed that “you start to see entire ecosystems of investment opportunity lining up” in K–12 education. Indeed, from 2005 to 2011, venture-capital investments in education grew almost thirtyfold, from $13 million to $389 million.

At the heart of these opportunities, Princeton Review founder John Katzman explains, is the question, “How do we use technology so that we require fewer highly qualified teachers?” This is the essential goal of the financial sector: to replace costly and idiosyncratic (though highly qualified) human teachers with mass-produced and highly profitable digital products—and to eliminate the legal and political conditions that inhibit a free flow of taxpayer dollars to the creators of these private products."



"After decades of research, we know a lot about what makes for good schools. But there is also a handy shortcut for figuring this out: look where rich people send their kids. These schools invariably boast a broad curriculum taught by experienced teachers in small classes. Wisconsin’s top ten elementary schools, for instance, look nothing like Rocketship’s: they have twice as many licensed teachers per student; offer music, art, libraries, foreign languages and guidance counselors; and provide classes that are taught in person by experienced educators.

Rocketship’s most important backer in Wisconsin is the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. In 2013, the MMAC supported a bill that would make it easier for companies like Rocketship to expand, dubbing such schools “the best of the best.” Yet the suburban schools of the MMAC’s president and chairperson look very different. Both have approximately fifteen students for every licensed teacher, or half the Rocketship ratio. Both provide music, art and libraries complete with professional librarians. And both boast veteran teaching staffs, with 90 percent of the teachers at one school holding graduate degrees. It appears, then, that what is deemed the “best of the best” for poor kids in Milwaukee is unacceptably substandard for more privileged students.

Thus, the charter industry seeks to build a new system of segregated education—one divided by class and geography rather than explicitly by race. Segregation may ease the politics of the industry’s expansion, allowing privileged families to see the Rocketship model as something that’s happening only to poor people, as something inconceivable in their own neighborhoods.

But such parents are mistaken. Investors are operating on a market logic, not a racial one. The destruction of public schooling starts in poor cities because this is where parents are politically powerless to resist a degraded education model. But after the industry has taken over city school systems, it will move into the suburbs. Profitable charter ventures will look to grow indefinitely, until there are no more public schools to conquer. As Rocketship co-founder John Danner explains, critics shouldn’t worry about charter schools skimming the best students, because eventually “we’re going to educate all of the students, so there’s nothing left to skim.”"
rocketshipschools  2014  education  lobbying  inequality  segregation  class  geography  policy  politics  teaching  learning  schools  privatization  forprofit  charterschools 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Parable of the Polygons - a playable post on the shape of society
"1. Small individual bias → Large collective bias.
When someone says a culture is shapist, they're not saying the individuals in it are shapist. They're not attacking you personally.

2. The past haunts the present.
Your bedroom floor doesn't stop being dirty just coz you stopped dropping food all over the carpet. Creating equality is like staying clean: it takes work. And it's always a work in progress.

3. Demand diversity near you.
If small biases created the mess we're in, small anti-biases might fix it. Look around you. Your friends, your colleagues, that conference you're attending. If you're all triangles, you're missing out on some amazing squares in your life - that's unfair to everyone. Reach out, beyond your immediate neighbors."



"Our cute segregation sim is based off the work of Nobel Prize-winning game theorist, Thomas Schelling. Specifically, his 1971 paper, Dynamic Models of Segregation. We built on top of this, and showed how a small demand for diversity can desegregate a neighborhood. In other words, we gave his model a happy ending.

Schelling's model gets the general gist of it, but of course, real life is more nuanced. You might enjoy looking at real-world data, such as W.A.V. Clark's 1991 paper, A Test of the Schelling Segregation Model.

There are other mathematical models of institutionalized bias out there! Male-Female Differences: A Computer Simulation shows how a small gender bias compounds as you move up the corporate ladder. The Petrie Multiplier shows why an attack on sexism in tech is not an attack on men.

Today's Big Moral Message™ is that demanding a bit of diversity in your spaces makes a huge difference overall. Look at Plz Diversify Your Panel, an initiative where overrepresented speakers pledge not to speak on panels without diverse representation.

Our "playable post" was inspired by Bret Victor's Explorable Explanations and Ian Bogost's procedural rhetoric."
diversity  games  racism  society  visualization  simulation  2014  vihart  nickycase  segregation  integration  bias  individualbias  equality  progress  anti-biases  math  modeling  simulations  videogames 
december 2014 by robertogreco
No, college isn’t the answer. Reparations are. - The Washington Post
"I am mostly uninterested in political rhetoric about education being the “new” civil rights movement. The old civil rights movement waged a battle for citizenship through school legislation because that was the nearest available political tool. The landmark civil rights case, Brown versus the Board of Education, was initially conceived as a means for justice, not its end. I also think that narrowly focusing on college completion is not a good thing. The job market is volatile for African Americans in the best of times and these are not the best of times. During difficult economic cycles, black workers and students should benefit from the flexibility of moving in and out of college as their life circumstances allow. Without that flexibility, every educational moment becomes a zero sum decision: “If I leave school this semester to take that job or care for a family member, I probably will never be able to return.” We’re poorer as individuals and groups when people least likely to get a call back because of a “black” name or negative credit check or criminal conviction have to make a decision to take a job or opt out of college forever. In short, I’m a heretic about almost every fundamental populist education belief we’ve got.

As the world was waiting for Coates’ case for reparations, Janelle Jones and John Schmitt at the Center for Economic Policy Research were releasing a policy paper on black college graduates and the labor market. In “A College Degree is No Guarantee”, Jones and Schmitt examine the labor market conditions for black college degree holders pre and post Great Recession.

Their findings are only a surprise to those who ain’t living it."



"How can I revere education as I do and refuse to accept it as the gospel that will save us from persistent, intractable inequality?Actually, it is precisely because I revere education—formal and informal—that I refuse to sell it as a cure for all that ails us.Degrees cannot fix the cumulative effect of structural racism. In fact, over five decades of social science research shows that education reproduces inequality. At every level of schooling, classrooms, schools, and districts reward wealth and privilege. That does not end at college admissions, which is when all that cumulative disadvantage may be its most acute. Going to college not only requires know how that changes from institution to institution and year to year, but it also requires capital. There’s the money to take standardized tests and mail applications and make tuition deposits. But there’s also the money that levels differences in individual ability. An unimpressive wealthy student can pay for test prep, admissions coaches, and campus visits that increases one’s shot at going to the most selective college possible. If education reinforces the salience of money to opportunity, it is money and only money that can make educational “opportunity” a vehicle for justice.

Reparations can do what education cannot do.

When we allow education to be sold as a fix for wealth inequality, we set a public good up to fail and black folks who do everything “right” to take the blame when it goes “wrong.”

Coates has a written a thing about reparations. Ostensibly, it is about the pattern of systematic extraction of black labor, wealth and income to the benefit of institutions that operate to their exclusion. It is a story with a history but one that is not a relic of history. Conservatives may be guilty of rejecting outright their basic faith in fair pay for labor when the issue is labor done by brown people. But white liberals are just as disingenuous when they rhetorically move reparations back in time as redress for slavery when there are countless modern cases of state-sanctioned racist oppression to make the case for reparations.

Like housing and banking, education is a modern debate that sounds like it is a 19th century one. Reparations are about slavery but also about Jim Crow and white violence’s effect on intellectual property and islands of segregated want in a land of plenty. There remains an entire generation of African Americans alive and well who were legally consigned to segregated schools, neighborhoods, and occupations. The black college graduates with weaker starting positions in the labor market are the children and grandchildren of that generation. No matter how much we might believe in the great gospel of education, it is an opportunity vehicle that works best when coupled with justice and not confused for justice."
tressiemcmillancottom  2014  race  inequality  education  class  justice  reparations  ta-nehisicoates  us  jimcrow  segregation  civilrights  socialjustice  lanor  work  unemployment 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Junot Diaz - Art, Race and Capitalism - YouTube
"Despite what we think, we're more isolated and atomized than ever before. […] The fact is that most poor people are more segregated and isolated than they've ever been. […] There's something really bewildering about the fact that we feel so rhizomatically interconnected to people, but we've never been more isolated. Classes no longer come into contact with each other in any way that's meaningful. I look at my mom and people are like “oh, she's that old generation.” My mom had more interclass contact than the average person has today. Because these great barriers — what we would call the networked society in which we live — hadn't been put into place yet. Think about how much public space my mother inhabited where she was going to encounter people from different cultures and different classes every day. There's almost no public space left at all. And any public space that we have is so patrolled and under so much surveillance and has been schematized and culturalized in certain ways that we're not really coming into contact with anyone who isn't like us. […] You basically encounter people in your network. So that if you are of a certain class, that's who you're encountering in the village. If you come from a certain educational background or from a certain privilege, that's who you're encountering in Williamsburg, these quote-unquote diverse spaces."

[via: http://botpoet.tumblr.com/post/103750710570/you-gotta-remember-and-im-sure-you-do-the

quoting these lines: “You gotta remember, and I’m sure you do, the forces that are arrayed against anyone trying to alter this sort of hammerlock on the human imagination. There are trillions of dollars out there demotivating people from imagining that a better tomorrow is possible. Utopian impulses and utopian horizons have been completely disfigured and everybody now is fluent in dystopia, you know. My young people’s vocabulary… their fluency is in dystopic futures. When young people think about the future, they don’t think about a better tomorrow, they think about horrors and end of the worlds and things or worse. Well, do you really think the lack of utopic imagination doesn’t play into demotivating people from imagining a transformation in the society?”]
junotdíaz  capitalism  race  class  segregation  dystopia  utopia  hope  faith  humans  2013  humanism  writing  literature  immigration  life  living  classism  activism  ows  occupywallstreet  punk  hiphop  compassion  identity  failure  guilt  imperfection  politics  self  work  labor  courage  howtobehuman  forgiveness  future  oppression  privilege  society  change  changemaking  futures  schools  education  business  funding  policy  resistance  subversion  radicalpedagogy  burnout  teaching  howweteach  systemschange  survival  self-care  masculinity  therapy  cultureofcare  neolithic  optimism  inventingthefuture  humanconstructs  civilization  evolution  networkedsociety  transcontextualism  paradigmshifts  transcontextualization 
november 2014 by robertogreco
What Determines Whether a School Has Mean Girls? -- Science of Us
"The hierarchical high school of John Hughes’s movies and Mean Girls is ubiquitous in pop culture, but it is not universal in real life. A new study finds that some schools — based on their size, organizational structure, and academic climate — are more likely to foster cliques than others.

Cliques form because people are often attracted to people of the same race, class, gender, and age as themselves — this is not a novel idea, and in sociology, this concept is called homophily (“love of the same”). But Daniel McFarland, an education professor at Stanford and the lead author of the study, discovered that this tendency to segregate is much more prevalent in large schools and schools that provide students with more academic freedom. A news release about the study explains: “Schools that offer students more choice — more elective courses, more ways to complete requirements, a bigger range of potential friends, more freedom to select seats in a classroom — are more likely to be rank-ordered, cliquish, and segregated.

McFarland, whose study will be published in December in American Sociological Review, said in a phone interview that in college, when he and his peers would reflect on high school, some recalled segregated, hierarchical social scenes, while others remembered much more egalitarian environments. “Everyone had a different version of what adolescent society was like,” he said, and so he and his co-authors were interested in comparing different high schools, to see how students’ networks were shaped by the organization of their school.

The researchers used two data sets for the study: one to examine friendships on the classroom level, and the other to explore schoolwide relationships. The classroom-level data set compared two extremely different schools. One was a traditional, tracked, Midwestern high school made up of mostly white students. The other was a magnet school in a “distressed” neighborhood of a large city that was diverse along racial and economic lines, but “homogenous in achievement.”

For the schoolwide study, an existing data set was used that, among many other survey questions, asked thousands of adolescents at 144 different schools about their friendships. The reason for two data sets, McFarland explained, was to determine if the students formed similar networks in their classes as they did throughout the entire school. “A friend in class seems to be a fairweather friend, a weaker tie,” he said.

McFarland and his team found that in contrast with the larger, more flexible schools, schools with a more rigid academic atmosphere usually fostered friendships based on intellectual interests and common activities. (This was true both on the classroom level and on a schoolwide level.) Throughout the study, large schools are often equated with less rigid schools, because most of these more stringent institutions were private schools, and thus were smaller.

Because smaller schools inherently offered a smaller pool of potential friends, they also limited friendships based on “external” criteria (race, gender, status, etc. ... ). To some degree, this is intuitive: There are fewer friends to choose from, so excluding people becomes riskier.

The takeaway, McFarland said, is that “the way we organize schools will have repercussions” for students’ interpersonal relationships. Teachers and administrators may think they cannot influence their students’ social fabric, but they can. Schools can “indirectly direct” the way that social networks form, by providing more or fewer choices for students. This influence can be used to promote student friendships across intellectual or academic commonalities, rather than external traits. McFarland thinks this knowledge can be used for the better: By designing schools that encourage students to associate based on common interests, we can avoid “creating boundaries that correspond with inequities that already exist in society.”

McFarland cautioned against concluding from this study that a small, rigid school is best for all students. Throughout this research, he grew concerned that “the prescription seemed to be layering all sorts of forced activities so we prevent all of these castes. I don’t think that’s necessarily what we want.” He even declined to say definitively that cliques are harmful to students’ development. (There are plenty of “folk theories” about this, he said, but not enough actual empirical evidence.)

McFarland believes that educators can still learn a great deal from these findings about organizing schools and curricula, even if more research still needs to be done. He said that teachers and administrators must now aim to find a curriculum “that encourages students to associate based on intellectual interests that span gender, race, and class.” Because, McFarland said, “Most reasonable people know that that isn’t a good basis for forming a relationship.””
2014  cliques  homophily  schools  segregation  ranking  electives  davidmcfarland  meangirls  behavior  scheduling 
november 2014 by robertogreco
The Mythic School of the Mountain: Black Mountain College | Our State Magazine
"In early 1933, John Andrew Rice, an outspoken firebrand and educator, founded a revolutionary new college deep in the mountains of North Carolina’s Buncombe County, just a few miles from the village of Black Mountain. Black Mountain College not only became a legend in its own time, but also established itself during its brief existence as the boldest, most progressive educational experiment in American history.

Rice, a dissident professor at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, had been dismissed from his teaching post. He had been accused of many things, chief among them fomenting revolt among the Rollins faculty. Rice held that traditional lockstep academia, and its often anemic curricula, allowed little in the way of independent thought and engagement. Upon departing, he led a band of fellow academic dissidents — as well as a number of Rollins students loyal to him — away from Rollins and established Black Mountain College. Rice had nothing in the way of a plan, much less dollars or even a building. The college’s very first catalog stated that it had been founded “to provide a place where free use might be made of tested and proved methods of education and new methods tried in a purely experimental spirit … ”

The W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection, in the Belk Library at Appalachian State University, houses the John Andrew Rice Papers, a trove of lore and memorabilia. One extraordinary document — tattered, cracked, and with Rice’s own penned-in emendations — is a single page of aged onionskin, at its crest the heading, in all caps, THE PURPOSE OF THE COLLEGE. It begins: “The purpose of the college is to lead on to creative consciousness a carefully selected group of talented young men and young women who are eager to know, to will, and to do.” Across its very bottom edge, in Rice’s penmanship, sprawls “Inner freedom in judgment and action.”

That first semester, fall of 1933, Black Mountain College had 13 faculty members and 26 students. The physical plant materialized, like so many of Black Mountain’s milestones, through serendipity. One of Rice’s confederates, Bob Wunsch, a dramatist from Rollins and a North Carolina native — not incidentally the roommate of Thomas Wolfe for a time at the University of North Carolina — suggested the first site for the college. The Blue Ridge Assembly, a Christian conference and training center, established in 1906, was a cluster of blazing-white buildings, including the august antebellum structure Robert E. Lee Hall. It was utilized in the summer for religious retreats, but unused for the most part during the traditional academic year. Rice and Wunsch engineered a deal and were able to rent The Blue Ridge Assembly for a fantastic bargain. Nevertheless, there was the Depression to contend with. There was little money to speak of. Malcolm Forbes, of the famous Forbes family and a former Rollins professor himself, provided the majority of the underwriting.

Black Mountain College faculty, with liberal input from the students, ran the entire operation. No boards of regents, directors, or trustees. The college was not accredited. Of the roughly 1,200 students who attended during its history, few (approximately 60) ever graduated, and those who did received hand-designed, homemade diplomas. Yet its students, upon leaving Black Mountain, were coveted by the very best graduate schools in America and beyond. The school’s structure was its lack of structure. The pedagogical direction was whatever students and teachers agreed upon. No grades. Process claimed dominion over product. Many local Buncombe citizens regarded Black Mountain with suspicion and disdain.

In the beginning, faculty were paid on the basis of need. When there was enough money, they received small salaries, plus room and board. Much of the food that fed the residents was grown on the college farm. Self-sufficiency, living lean and close to the land in the true pioneering tradition of America, was very much a part of Black Mountain. The college taught that the exchange of creature comforts for freedom was a more than equitable barter. Black Mountain invented itself and in so doing established a paradigm for all educational communities ever after to mimic. It initiated itself by posing tough questions about arbitrary, traditional rules governing education and teaching, questions about the self and various external fetters imposed upon it.

Black Mountain was also a crucible of dangerously volatile social change. Long before the rest of America wrestled with sexual orientation and racial integration, Black Mountain was establishing a forum for discussion and acceptance, but always — and perhaps more important — dissent. During its inception, it became a sanctuary for Jewish intellectuals, many of whom were fleeing the scourge of Nazi Europe.

My intoxication with Black Mountain College began the summer of 1987, when Ronald H. Bayes, my Literary Godfather, laid in my hands Martin Duberman’s Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community. I had just started teaching at what was then St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College in Laurinburg — a little town every bit as obscure as the town of Black Mountain was in 1933 when the first faculty members of Black Mountain College arrived at the rail station on Sutton Avenue and were spirited off to their new home at the Blue Ridge Assembly in the very rural Swannanoa Valley.

Bayes, a longtime distinguished professor and writer-in-residence at St. Andrew’s — by my lights, a fringe Black Mountain poet himself — had been intimates with Black Mountain writers Charles Olson, Ed Dorn, Jonathan Williams, Joel Oppenheimer, and Fielding Dawson, and a very close friend of Robert Creeley until Creeley’s death. Through Bayes’s magical connections, many of those writers had been frequent visitors to the St. Andrew’s campus, and, in 1974, St. Andrew’s hosted the now mythic, actually unimaginable (so large are the names on this list), Black Mountain Festival, which featured the writers already mentioned as well as John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, and M.C. Richards.

At the time I read Duberman’s book, I had merely heard of Black Mountain College, which I knew no longer existed. I conceived of it like any other college, like the ones I attended and taught at. As I read, however, I was astonished to learn, page by page, what experimental education and community looked like up close — perhaps what education and community had been meant to aspire to all along. What’s more, I was utterly mystified as to why — having been a North Carolinian and a college English professor for 10 years and pretty knowledgeable, or so I thought, in American literature — Black Mountain College had never crossed my radar.

Today, 27 years after I discovered Black Mountain, it remains among even the well-educated across America — not to mention the citizens of North Carolina — at best an anomaly, but more a well-kept secret. There is nothing to commemorate its considerable glory other than a terse epitaph etched into a silver historical marker on U.S. Highway 70 (State Street) at West College Street, traveling west out of the charming little town of Black Mountain: “BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE: Est. in 1933: Closed 1956. Experimental school with emphasis on fine arts & progressive education. Campus was 3 mi. NW.”"



:Yet, to this day, it remains the greatest experimental academic adventure ever launched on American soil. During its shimmering, stormy history, many of the nation’s greatest thinkers and artists were in residence or paid visits to Black Mountain: Anni Albers, Josef Albers, John Cage, Robert Creeley, Merce Cunningham, Robert De Niro Sr., John Dewey, Aldous Huxley, Alfred Kazin, Willem de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Paul Goodman, Walter Gropius, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Franz Kline, Jacob Lawrence, Henry Miller, Charles Olson, Arthur Penn, Francine du Plessix-Gray, Mary Caroline Richards, Robert Rauschenburg, Ben Shahn, Thornton Wilder, and countless others.

However, to associate Black Mountain exclusively with this litany of the renowned remains one of the chief hazards of its legacy. What makes the phenomenon of Black Mountain stupendous is the fact that, apart from its glittering roster, there are any number of famous artists and writers, ones without names in neon, without international or even national reputations, who have made prominent names for themselves across every area of the arts. But not just in the arts. Black Mountain produced some of America’s most profound innovators in education, science, social work, architecture, urban planning, psychiatry, history, politics, on and on. To research a Black Mountain College alumnus is to stumble upon greatness. They became citizens of blazing social consciousness and engagement who put to daily practice what John Andrew Rice imagined for his new college’s students back in 1933: inner freedom in judgment and action. In The Black Mountain Book, Fielding Dawson declares: “Forget about the big names” — more a Zen injunction than a literal one. He goes on to say, in an interview I conducted with him, that “[Black Mountain] had a lot to do with a lot of talented individuals who were really interested in what they were doing. The mystic, the intuitive, the anarchist is much more the fact of Black Mountain …”

Black Mountain College started with pure intellectual curiosity and radical curricular reform. It rewrote the history of the self, an opus still unraveling as the endless labyrinth of influence that is Black Mountain branches off into tributary after tributary. Black Mountain College was a gorgeous, temperamental hybrid, gone before America even knew it existed. Nevertheless, as Charles Olson proclaimed in a letter to Martin Duberman: “ There’s no end to the story — her flag flies.’ ”"
blackmountaincollege  bmc  northcarolina  asheville  blackmountain  history  progressive  johnandrewrice  josephbathanti  art  bonaldbayes  martinduberman  segregation  integration  fieldingdawson  charlesolson  writing  poetry  tleverettsmith  ncwesleyan  lcproject  openstudioproject  freedom  unschooling  deschooling  learning  education  highered  highereducation 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Lab Rats: Welcome to New Orleans—America’s urban education laboratory | EduShyster
"Do you dream of being part of our nation’s greatest experiment in urban education? I know I do—which is why I was thrilled to be the recipient of a recent Google ad inviting me to Teach, Live and Love New Orleans. Welcome to NOLA, reader, where you’ll find plenty of *that je ne sais quoi, that elan, that bon temps* but absolutely pas d’excuses. In other words, it’s time for us to button up our lab coats and get busy. We’ve got <strike>a city to colonize</strike> an achievement gap to crush.

Whiter and brighter (and an outsider)
The first thing you’ll notice about our laboratory of innovation is that most of the other lab technicians are, to use a bons mots, whiter than a lab coat. That’s because while NOLA, as we’ll insist upon calling it, abounds in *locavore markets and stores,* you won’t find many locavore teachers here these days. Nor will you find many African American teachers, despite the fact that New Orleans remains a majority/minority city. Both are long gone, fired (illegally, as it turns out) in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, leaving nothing behind but low expectations and *historic homes at attainable prices.*

Pas d’excuses
Look closely at the brighter, whiter, outsiders working as lab technicians and you’ll notice something else: they’re all performing the exact same experiment. *School choice abounds,* it’s just that all of the schools offer the same choice. Take the seven charter management organizations that are behind the Teach, Live and Love New Orleans teacher recruitment campaign, for example. While the badges on the lab coats may be different, they share a single working hypothesis: for students to achieve they must first be taught to submit to adult authority, no excuses. As for emerging evidence that such an approach causes students to distrust and disparage themselves, may I remind you that *every student can have lifelong success and achievement, regardless of their socio-economic status or zipcode*?

New schools, old theories
I’m guessing that, unless you are Arne Duncan, you did not attend school in a laboratory. And yet, even if some of the bold urban education innovations in NOLA, like silent recess, lunch at *Level Zero* (also silent), or cool hand gestures used by students to indicate that they need to go to the bathroom, are new to you, I’m betting that you’re familiar with the theory behind these innovations. Remember that Psych 101 class you took where you learned about B.F. Skinner and his brand of behavioral psychology? If you were the kind of college-ready student who actually attended class, you may even recall something called *operant conditioning.* Want to teach a pigeon to turn in a circle to the left? Just give it a reward for any small movement it makes in that direction. Soon, the pigeon will catch on and begin making larger movements, garnering more rewards, until finally the bird completes the full circle. And as for that bit in Psych 101 about Skinner-style behaviorism being rejected decades ago, who learns anything in college anyway?

Laissez les bons temps rouler (after testing season)
You know what else is great about NOLA? All of the art and music, which you will find just about everywhere in this city, except for in the schools. In fact, kids have 88 charter choices to choose from, but just one has an arts and music focus. Which is sort of an interesting experiment, when you think about it. From whence will the city’s future musicians come from now that the Big Easy is the undisputed capital of no excuses?

Exit ticket
NOLA’s bold experiment in urban education may be a mere decade old, reader, but there’s one conclusion of which we can be certain. Teaching in an *urban education laboratory* is exhausting—hence the fiercely urgent need for fresh talent as yesterday’s technicians hang up their lab coats and move on to less punishing work. Which is why Teach, Live and Love New Orleans wants you—and me—to work in an amazing city where *we all teach, live, and love.* *We love to live here, and you can too.*"
education  neworleans  policy  inequality  segregation  2014  jenniferberkshire  teaching  ecucation  burnout  arts  bfskinner  behaviorism  nola  charterschools 
june 2014 by robertogreco
The peril of hipster economics - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
"In a sweeping analysis of displacement in San Francisco and its increasingly impoverished suburbs, journalist Adam Hudson notes that "gentrification is trickle-down economics applied to urban development: the idea being that as long as a neighbourhood is made suitable for rich and predominantly white people, the benefits will trickle down to everyone else". Like trickle-down economics itself, this theory does not play out in practice.

Rich cities such as New York and San Francisco have become what journalist Simon Kuper calls gated citadels: "Vast gated communities where the one percent reproduces itself."

Struggling US cities of the rust belt and heartland lack the investment of coastal contemporaries, but have in turn been spared the rapid displacement of hipster economics. Buffered by their eternal uncoolness, these slow-changing cities have a chance to make better choices - choices that value the lives of people over the aesthetics of place.

In an April blog post, Umar Lee, a St Louis writer and full-time taxi driver, bemoaned the economic model of rideshare services, which are trying to establish themselves in the city. Noting that they hurt not only taxi drivers but poor residents who have neither cars nor public transport and thus depend on taxis willing to serve dangerous neighbourhoods, he dismisses Uber and Lyft as hipster elitists masquerading as innovators:

"I've heard several young hipsters tell me they're socially-liberal and economic-conservative, a popular trend in American politics," he writes. "Well, I hate to break it to you buddy, but it's economics and the role of the state that defines politics. If you're an economic conservative, despite how ironic and sarcastic you may be or how tight your jeans are, you, my friend, are a conservative …"

Lee tells me he has his own plan to try to mitigate the negative effects of gentrification, which he calls "50-50-20-15". All employers who launch businesses in gentrifying neighbourhoods should have a workforce that is at least 50 percent minorities, 50 percent people from the local neighbourhood, and 20 percent ex-offenders. The employees should be paid at least $15 per hour.

Gentrification spreads the myth of native incompetence: That people need to be imported to be important, that a sign of a neighbourhood's "success" is the removal of its poorest residents. True success lies in giving those residents the services and opportunities they have long been denied.

When neighbourhoods experience business development, priority in hiring should go to locals who have long struggled to find nearby jobs that pay a decent wage. Let us learn from the mistakes of New York and San Francisco, and build cities that reflect more than surface values."
cities  class  gentrification  hipsters  race  economics  inequality  redevelopment  sanfrancisco  nyc  brooklyn  poverty  adamhudson  sarahkendzior  spikelee  katharinagrosse  whitewashing  simonkuper  segregation  rustbelt 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The Commonspace > June 2004 > Expatriates
"There are, as far as I have been able to discover, three cities in the world that share the name Saint Louis: the dilapidated colonial ruins on an island off the northern coast of Brazil, in the state of Maranhão; our sister city — the dilapidated colonial ruins on a fluvial island near the edge of the Sahara desert, in Senegal; and ours, the dilapidated colonial ruins that lie along the banks of the Mississippi. All once great. All once golden. Today, all lie in ruin.

I love our ruin. I have to. I am a product of that ruin, for better or for worse. To me, the ruins are completely surreal. They exist on a different physical plane, in a different time. Monuments to Indian burial mounds. Tenement complexes overgrown with vines. Vast expanses of natural grasses, where entire blocks once stood. Snoots and tips. Blues, jazz, and soul being played to almost empty clubs. Arson.

I have always suffered ridicule for being from Saint Louis, especially from East coasters who are fond of making comments like, "If you are not living in New York you are just camping out." But I know that Saint Louis, along with Memphis and New Orleans — the crowning gems of the American Nile — form the true cradle of American culture. We are the cultural standard-bearers of the nation, despite the fact the little credit is ever given, and despite the fact that Saint Louisans themselves rarely do their part to improve our image.

I should clarify that Saint Louis to me is just the part east of Skinker. The suburbs, the sprawl, and the people that contribute to them, are my real enemies. I think we ought to build a Great Wall around the City and charge toll for the suburbanites to visit the Arch, the stadium, the zoo, the museums, the parks, and the other marvelous public resources the City offers for free to all. Let's see where the suburbanites will draw their inspiration and cultural identities from when their access has been cut off. When I lived in Saint Louis I made a vow never to stray west of Skinker, on principle.

I have lived in Brazil for many years now, because I found that I am freer in Brazil than in the USA. Free of the Puritanism and false morality in the States; the sexual repression; the obsession with consumerism and material goods, and work, work, work, at the cost of friendships, family and quality of life; free of the terrible diet of fast food, processed food, industrialized, over-packaged food, and over-packaged lifestyles; free of the cold winters; and most importantly, free of the racism. Brazil may be a classist country, but it has at least recognized and embraced its African influences. Saint Louis, and the rest of the United States, owes a tremendous debt to the cultural contribution of African-Americans, a debt that can never be repaid. Yet no one wants to acknowledge this debt. In fact, Saint Louis continues to adhere to a social regime tantamount to apartheid. This makes me feel true shame.

I grew up near Delmar Blvd., at a time when that street practically divided the City in two halves — blacks to the north, whites to the south. Today, with "white flight" at its most expressive levels in decades, and with Saint Peters the fastest growing city in the state, the south side has taken on a more diverse character, but the dichotomy between white and black continues strong as ever. No contact between the races. I am not even surprised any more when I hear whites in Saint Louis say they have never heard of the St. Louis American.

I moved back to Saint Louis from Brazil in 1995, because I had decided to wanted to spearhead an urban pioneer movement, to repopulate abandoned areas of the city. Tax abatements, neighborhood associations and marketing campaigns only go so far. The war is won on an individual level. Someone has to move to the City and become an example, convincing others to follow. Someone has to dispel the myths of crime and hatred. Someone has to take action. So I bought an abandoned smokehouse from the LRA (Land Reutilization Authority) on Iowa, with a friend of mine, and without any financial resources to speak of we started fixing it up with our own four hands. The crack dealers on the block burned it to the ground, but we were relentless in our commitment. We traded the ashes for another building — squatting in the second without electricity for many months — until we had it back up to habitable conditions. It served as my home for several years. I made lasting friendships with neighbors that most Saint Louisans would never give themselves the chance to meet.

In fact, my friends from the suburbs continued intransigent in their stance. It was like high school all over again: attending the Priory, I was one of a handful of boys that lived in the City. My friends were not allowed to visit my home. Their parents thought I lived in the jungle, and that their children would be robbed, raped, or murdered if they left West County. In college, when I lived near Crown Candy, I convinced a few to visit. It was like taking them to a foreign country. They had never even driven through north city. They didn't even know it existed! Living in my LRA property I discovered that nothing had changed years later. People were still unable to overcome their prejudice and fear. They actually liked hiding out in Saint Peters. And so, recognizing that we live in a cultural democracy, where people vote with their feet, I accepted the defeat of my pioneer efforts and returned to Brazil.

I miss a lot of things about Saint Louis, especially the radio. When I was growing up there were more than five or six full-time jazz stations: KBIL, KWMU, WSIE, KATZ (on the prowl). Webster University had a real funky one, too, but I don't remember the call letters. There was even a smooth jazz station, though I never liked it much. Add all these to KDHX, and its eclectic array of programming, and man, we were in a really privileged position musically. That was a fact. I got hooked on funk, soul, R&B, jazz, blues, reggae, rap, African. You name it. If it had roots in the diaspora of African music, it got played on Saint Louis radio. Saint Louis is a deeply funky place, but so many people are unable to tap into the vibe.

I do not consider myself a patriotic person. I don't care much for the USA as a whole, but I have deep, unseverable ties to Saint Louis. And the reason for this is that Saint Louis is a very unique place. I just can't figure out why people are so self-denigrating, why they can't define and give value to what makes them so special. I have a different vision, but it doesn't seem like many people share it with me, so it has just remained a daydream that I indulge in moments of homesickness. Maybe my Saint Louis will only ever exist in my mind."
stlouis  2004  tomkarsten  friends  missouri  maranhão  mississippiriver  ruins  midwest  us  patriotism  brazil  brasil  race  class  society  segregation 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Examining The New Los Angeles Paradigm: An Interview With Victor Jones | Los Angeles, I'm Yours
"Victor Jones thinks about Los Angeles in a way few people do: he thinks about it in the future tense, as a place of myriad possibilities. “Los Angeles, unlike most well known cities, is a twenty-first century paradigm in terms of its ability to inform how people live and what people do and how they experiences civic and public space. It is a new physical model of urbanity: I think Los Angeles is a fantastic case study.”

“Thats the draw here,” he says. “While perfect weather, a great economy, and geography have made life easy to take for granted my work in academia and design pushes back on the city, forcing people to reconsider the evidence of things not seen. This push back is to say—Hey.—let’s stop and revisit this, acknowledging that we are a part of a discussion, that we are not completely inside ourselves and that we are becoming a greater reference globally. When we look at urban development in Beijing, Dubai, Mexico City for example, Los Angeles has become a reference versus traditional nineteenth century cities. Let’s try to understand the physical implication of these things.”"



"The irony is that Victor is a native who never liked it here. “I always hated Los Angeles,” he explains. “I was always overwhelmed by the expanse and horizontality of the city and the lack of continuity. It wasn’t until I moved back from France and got my driver’s license that a whole new relationship with the city emerged.”

“I really didn’t get to know the city that I was born and raised in until my late thirties,” he adds. “That’s when I began to understand how special this place is.”

Victor had lived in Los Angeles from birth through late elementary school and high school. He attended Cal Poly San Louis Obispo for his undergraduate degree in Architecture and found the experience to be quite profound: it created opportunities to try different metropolitan settings. “My Architectural History professor, Dr. Joseph Burton, radically changed my life: he proposed that I moved to Paris after graduation to work,” Victor explains. “Initially, I was very resistant to the idea. But, what was supposed to be a three month internship ended up being twelve years living in Paris: that was a life changing experience. I never thought that I would end up back in Los Angeles! I completely found myself and found a completely different world order in France.”

Paris brought a lot of important things to his life: he met his partner of twenty five years, he worked for Jean Nouvel and Louis Vuitton, and took a break during his time there to get a graduate degree in Architecture from Harvard. After, he found himself back in Paris—but soon left to further his own practice. “We arrogantly thought our club membership to Paris would never expire,” he says. “There was a lot of discussion between my partner, Alain Fièvre and I on where to go and we decided that Los Angeles was the best place for an architectural practice, Fièvre + Jones. So, we came here in the late nineties. It is a very challenging experience to uproot our Parisian existence and move to the United States.”

“We do miss Europe quite a bit, though,” Victor says with a longing—but positive—undertone. “That’s what brought us to Silver Lake and to an office in Hollywood: we’re such urban creatures that we were looking for that simulacrum of urbanity in Los Angeles. Both Silver Lake and Hollywood have their own special version of that, Silver Lake being a bit of Brooklyn and Hollywood being a bit like every popular zone in every major city in the world. From certain angles, Hollywood may look like Times Square in the eighties and, from another it may look like Pigalle in Paris. It has a very special and unique quality to it.”

You could confuse his comparisons for nostalgia but analyzing Los Angeles in this manner is Victor’s job: he studies space, formed communities, and urban infrastructure to discover its flaws and successes. “My principal concentration at USC’s School Of Architecture is research on community based projects and understanding what that means in a post-racial culture. Rather than looking at community service as a direct response to under-served individuals or minorities, I look at how we as a more urban, global, and heterogenous community can construct a better quality of life.”"



"“There is a natural tendency to create villages for practical reasons. But, there is a beauty in having a passport to all neighborhoods. If you are of a certain curiosity, you’ll breach those boundaries, not letting your universe be defined by a street. But, [Angelenos] religiously stick to their boundaries. We have to question the curious way that infrastructures—like freeways—impact our lives, organizing us in as architect Craig Hodgetts says the mish-mosh we call Los Angeles.”

These views do not mean that Victor has a pessimistic view of Los Angeles. That is why he is so passionate about it changing for the better. Arguing for more opportunity for how people engage the city, he says, “Generally speaking, Angelenos tend to isolate themselves. They have a trajectory of work and home and their neighborhood. All due to limitations set by the city’s infrastructure – whether we are talking about public space, transportation, cultural institutions etc,” Some of my most fond memories of the city are from cinema and how ‘the industry’ illustrates the city. I remember in Pulp Fiction Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta would be in the Valley and then drive miles to another part of the city without any hesitation: the city in that film is a forest of pockets full of different opportunities. They were not restricted by cultural biases, distance, demographics – nothing stopped them from moving from one place to another."
victorjones  architecture  losangeles  2014  beijing  dubai  mexicocity  mexicodf  urban  urbanism  cities  race  community  diversity  integration  boundaries  borders  segregation  roads  freeways  michaelgovan  film  design  landscape  lacma  transportation  isolation  mobility  traffic  sustainability  craighodgetts  df 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Cities in motion: why Mumbai's new air terminal has gone off the rails | Cities | theguardian.com
"The difference between the two terminuses demonstrates just what's going wrong with Mumbai. After two decades of economic liberalisation, its middle class has been so brainwashed into believing privatisation is the solution for all their problems that the city seems to have forgotten what public actually means. As art historian Rahul D'Souza points out: "Richer residents are quite willing to accept the idea that an art exhibition can be public, even if it can accessed only by people who have bought an international air ticket." This attitude will surely have a profound effect on Mumbai's politics in the near future.

The middle-class aspiration for exclusivity is a jarring disjuncture with the mythology and history of a city that lives the best part of its life in full view of its neighbours, with one of the highest population densities in the world (it packs 22,937 people into each square kilometre, compared to 5,285 people in London). The size of the average Mumbai family is 4.5 people, and the average home size is 10 square metres, so some of their most private moments transpire in the midst of a crowd.

Much of Mumbai's easy urbanity has been forged in the sweaty confines of its public transport system, by far the most extensive in India. In its compartments, people of different castes and communities are forced to share benches and be wedged together in positions of daring intimacy. This is only to be expected when 5,000 commuters are stuffed into trains built to carry 1,800 – a density that the authorities describe as the "super-dense crushload". The commonplace negotiations of the commute – such as the convention of allowing a fourth traveller to sit on a bench built for three, but only on one buttock – force an acknowledgement of other people's needs that characterises Mumbai life.

The Mumbai commute, in addition to being compacted, is very long – for some, it could involve a journey of two hours each way. This has given rise to the institution of "train friends", people who travel in a group in the same section of the same compartment every morning, sharing stories of their triumphs and disappointments and even celebrating their birthdays by bringing in sweets for their companions.

Despite the enormous effort they sometimes entail, the accommodations of the commute are barely perceptible to the outsider. Because of the unavoidable press of bodies at peak hours, women travel in separate carriages – but every so often, couples who cannot bear to be parted or a clueless out-of-town pair will blunder into the "general compartment". When this happens, the other men will strain to provide the woman a millimetre or two of space around her, creating a cocoon in which she is magically insulated from the accidental nudge of limbs and torsos.

This isn't to suggest that life on the rails is all smiles and sunshine. As is to be expected on a long, sweaty journey, arguments do break out, mostly over trivial matters involving the placement of a limb or a bag in awkward proximity to a fellow passenger's face. But these exchanges rarely culminate in fisticuffs. The crowd around the belligerents can be counted on to defuse the tension quickly, usually with the remark, "These things happen. You have to adjust".

Sadly, though, the spirit of compromise so evident on the trains is evaporating on the streets outside. To watch Mumbai traffic in motion is to see the ferocious sense of entitlement in which India's moneyed classes have wrapped themselves. Mumbai's vehicles refuse to give way to ambulances, and honk furiously at old people and schoolchildren trying to cross the street. They never stops at zebra crossings, frequently jump red lights, and routinely come down the wrong way on no-entry streets. Because an estimated 60% of cars are driven by chauffers, more than in most other parts of the world, car owners have the fig-leaf of pretending that they aren't responsible for transgressions they actually encourage. And this sense of self-importance is pandered to by the government's budgetary allocations. Though the vast majority of Mumbai residents use the overburdened public transport system to get around, a disproportionate amount of development money has been poured into road projects.

The city has built approximately 60 flyovers and elevated roadways in recent years – facilities that have paradoxically made the congestion on the roads far worse. As incomes expand, traffic is growing at a rate of 9% a year, with an estimated 450 new vehicles being added to Mumbai's narrow streets every day. As a result, peak-hour traffic crawls ahead at an average of 10kmh – less than half the speed clocked by winners of the city's annual marathon. It merely proves the adage so beloved of planners around the world: "Building more roads to prevent traffic congestion is like a fat man loosening his belt to prevent obesity."

The imbalance so apparent between Mumbai's transport system and its airport seem sure to polarise political attitudes in the city even more sharply. The city's middle classes have become so enamoured of their privatised comforts, they are forgetting that great cities get their reputation not from the access-restricted pleasures they afford the few, but the public amenities that are available to all. The chasm between the elite and the working classes has long been the playground for populist politicians, here and elsewhere. But over the last few years, such divisions in Mumbai have literally been reinforced by concrete. Unless this changes, my city will lose the common ground on which to make common cause."
2014  mumbai  publictransportation  publictransit  transportation  privatization  publicspace  cities  urbanism  urban  nareshfernandes  commuting  class  segregation  exclusivity  community 
february 2014 by robertogreco
New, privatized African city heralds climate apartheid | Environment | theguardian.com
"Nigeria's Eko Atlantic augurs how the super-rich will exploit the crisis of climate change to increase inequality and seal themselves off from its impacts"
nigeria  ekoatlantic  cities  inequality  2014  martinlukacs  climateapartheid  segregation  wealth  class  climateurbanism  via:javierarbona  seasteading 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Richer Americans Like Living With Poorer People Until They Have Kids - Real Time Economics - WSJ
“This hurts the economy in at least two ways. While a lot more research needs to be done, it’s probably not great for children in poor areas to not have access to better schools and more educated adults. More perniciously, though, if the better-off aren’t living in the same place as the worse-off, they won’t be as willing to pay for future social services in the worse-off areas. Indeed, their tax payments will go to supporting their own schools and parks, leaving the lower-income areas to fend for themselves. That, in turn, will reinforce the economic inequalities that already exist.”

[via: http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2013/10/16/the-ten-percent-solution ]
2013  class  us  children  parenting  inequality  diversity  segregation  wealth  education  schools  learning  economics 
january 2014 by robertogreco
National Review Online | Print ["The Bay Area’s 1 Percenters: If you’re hip and liberal, your kids don’t have to go to school with the gardener’s kids."
"The Bay Area’s 1 Percenters: If you’re hip and liberal, your kids don’t have to go to school with the gardener’s kids."



"Silicon Valley liberal politics are equally paradoxical, reflect this quiet desperation, and mask hyper-self-interest, old-fashioned rat-race competition, and 21st-century suburban versions of keeping up with the Joneses. The latter may be green, support gay marriage, and oppose restrictions on abortion, but they still are the Joneses of old who define their success by showing off to neighbors what they have, whether high-performance cars or hyper-achieving kids.

In the South Bay counties, Democratic registration outnumbers Republican often 2 to 1. If liberals like Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Nancy Pelosi did not represent the Bay Area, others like them would have to be invented. Yet, most Northern California liberal politics are abstractions that apparently provide some sort of psychological compensation for otherwise living lives that are illiberal to the core."

Take K–12 schools. Currently, there is a stampede to enroll students in upscale private academies — often at $30,000 a year. That seems strange, when local public high schools like Menlo-Atherton, Woodside, and Palo Alto were traditionally among the highest-ranked campuses in an otherwise dismal state public-school system.

But things have changed — or at least are perceived to have changed. About 25 percent of the Silicon Valley population is now Hispanic, representing a huge influx of service employees — to work in hotels and restaurants, as nannies and housecleaners, in landscaping and construction — and their presence has expanded beyond the old barrios of San Jose and Redwood City.

The result is that Silicon Valley liberals are apparently worried about the public schools, given that second-generation Hispanics are perceived to be disproportionately represented in statistics on gang activity, illegitimacy, and high-school dropout rates. In crude terms, would a Google executive really wish his child’s hard-driving college-prep curriculum or enlightened social calendar altered somewhat to accommodate second-language teenagers whose parents recently arrived illegally from Oaxaca?

Something similar happened in the Deep South in the 1960s, when court-mandated integration brought black students into formerly all-white enclaves, spurring a white flight to private academies. Upscale hip whites and Asians in Northern California, of course, do not have southern twangs and in theory are multiculturalists to the core. But they are no more invested in a truly diverse public-school experience for their children than southern separatists of the past.

When I suggest to my Silicon Valley friends that their fixation on academic achievement is misplaced and that the academic peer and institutional pressure that my own children might have lost out on by going to the almost exclusively Mexican and Mexican-American public schools of southern Fresno County was balanced by the “life experiences” of dealing with those of all classes, races, and attitudes, they think I am unhinged. Diversity, in other words, is a cosmic ideal of voting for Barack Obama, not a cross that a Stanford-bound kindergartener must bear in the here and now."

[via: http://notes.husk.org/post/68112126976/one-percent-sfsv ]

[Alternate link: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/361828/bay-areas-1-percenters-victor-davis-hanson ]
education  class  segregation  2013  siliconvalley  integration  schools  us  whiteflight  liberalflight  limousineliberals  diversity  multiculturalism  antisepticchildhood  childhood  inequality  classism  victordavishanson 
november 2013 by robertogreco
In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters - NYTimes.com
"A study finds the odds of rising to another income level are notably low in certain cities, like Atlanta and Charlotte, and much higher in New York and Boston."
data  economics  datavis  datavisualization  mobility  incomemobility  socialmobility  us  class  race  geography  cities  segregation 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Assembly Required: The Transformative Art of Noah Purifoy | San Bernardino | Artbound | KCET
"On a ten-acre parcel near the perimeter of the Marine Corps Air and Ground Combat Center (half a million acres of chocolate mountains and sand dunes that serve as a simulacrum of the Middle East), Purifoy, one of the founders of the Watts Towers Art Center that rose from the ashes of the 1965 riots, spent the final years of his life creating the monumental "Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture" made from tons of discarded materials. The "Environment" (the nickname a few critics and Purifoy himself sometimes used) is an astonishing feat of the imagination as much as it is a physical one."
desert  california  joshuatree  noahpurifoy  art  artists  2013  mojavedesert  deserts  segregation  environment  rubénmartínez 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Taylor and Goldstein Debate Schooling | To the best of our KNOWLEDGE
"Do public schools stifle creativity and real learning, or are they essential to a diverse society?  Does homeschooling undercut public schools? Do parents with progressive values have an ethical obligation to support public schools? These questions have sparked a lively debate in response to Astra Taylor’s recent essay “Unschooling” in the literary magazine n+1 and Dana Goldstein’s response in Slate. In this NEW and UNCUT interview, Taylor and Goldstein join Steve Paulson for their first joint debate on schools and the best learning environments."
class  race  deschooling  competition  debate  society  policy  tracking  segregation  hierarchy  publiceducation  2012  progressive  learning  education  unschooling  astrataylor  danagoldstein 
march 2012 by robertogreco
n+1: Learning in Freedom
"I never say everyone should unschool or that we should replicate Albany Free School, which I don’t think could scale in its current formation (it depends, for example, on a volunteer ethos I don’t think we can or should expect from our educators)…foundation of unschooling philosophy is idea that we are, to quote John Holt, “learning animals,” & that we should tap into people’s intrinsic motivation to explore & understand the world…

…most liberal parents are desperate to help their children climb to the top of the meritocracy…top of an exclusionary pyramid…largely been rigged in their favor all along. How liberal is that? One of the virtues of unschooling, of the radical philosophy that underpins it, is that it calls the entire hierarchy into question…

Today, conventional wisdom has it that the solution is more, never less.

…taking a closer look at radical margins may help us ask better questions about what we really want from our educational system…how to go about getting it."
whiteflight  publicschools  schooliness  schooling  schools  homeschool  children  parenting  learning  education  segregation  diversity  policy  2012  albanyfreeschool  johnholt  society  deschooling  competition  meritocracy  liberals  danagoldstein  publiceducation  astrataylor  unschooling 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Diversity Lecture: Ta-Nehisi Coates - YouTube
"As part of our Bob and Aliecia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center Diversity Lecture Series, Grand Rapids Community College presents Ta-Nehisi Coates speaking on "A Deeper Black: The Meaning of Race in the Age of Obama.""
ta-nehisicoates  civilwar  2011  martinlutherkingjr  race  barackobama  identity  dropouts  learning  education  observation  obsession  blackhistory  us  abrahamlincoln  slavery  history  africanamerican  truth  hemingway  huckleberryfinn  marktwain  malcolmx  acceptance  understanding  safety  incarceration  society  bodyscanners  airports  convenience  inconvenience  comfort  self-esteem  justice  challenge  segregation  success  progress  policy  politics  desegregation  parenting  books  homeenvironment  reading  curiosity  exposure  youth  adolescence  teens  adults  moralauthority  wisdom  mlk 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Free Access to Mexico’s Soumaya Museum Comes at a Cost | This Big City
"This way of ‘making a city’ is the modern version of a gated community and segregation. As Mike Davis, in his article Fortress LA, points out: segregation is an indirect agreement between the high class & the planning norms—explicit or not. Of course, his case of study is LA where the divisions are different, but his point that gated communities are zones w/ a very low grade of permeability remains true.

It is important to note that socio-spatial segregation is the constitution of the territory based on the common feature of the society that occupied it. Also, that segregation can be positive when it is not related to urban problems, & negative when it is related to specific social problems. But let’s go back to the Soumaya, where I will place a paradox. Home to the second most important collection of Rodin’s work, w/ free entrance, facilities and services for different groups, can the Soumaya be considered a way to balance segregation, because everyone can access to it?"
soumayamuseum  mexico  mexicodf  carlosslim  losangeles  mikedavis  segregation  urbanvillages  gatedcommunities  permeability  socio-spacialsegregation  society  df  mexicocity 
september 2011 by robertogreco
City of Quartz, Fortress LA: The Militarization of Urban Space
"Here, as in other American cities, municipal policy has taken its lead from the security offensive and the middle-class demand for increased spatial and social insulation. Taxes previously targeted for traditional public spaces and recreational facilities have been redirected to support corporate redevelopment projects. A pliant city government--in the case of Los Angeles, one ironically professing to represent a liberal biracial coalition--has collaborated in privatizing public space and subsidizing new exclusive enclaves (benignly called "urban villages")."
architecture  losangeles  california  sociology  mikedavis  security  class  segregation  cityofquartz  redevelopment  publicspace  socialinsulation  urbanvillages 
september 2011 by robertogreco
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